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NFL notes: More mature, Cardinals’ D.J. Humphries hopes to play this season

Arizona OT D.J. Humphries said he learned a lot by sitting out every game last year. (Rick Scuteri / Associated Press)
Arizona OT D.J. Humphries said he learned a lot by sitting out every game last year. (Rick Scuteri / Associated Press)
Associated Press

Sunday after Sunday, D.J. Humphries watched his Arizona Cardinals teammates suit up without him.

He was the only healthy first-round draft pick in the NFL to sit out every game last season as inactive.

“He was too immature,” coach Bruce Arians said.

Humphries wouldn’t argue otherwise.

“To be honest, this type of team, what they demand for a player,” he said, “I wasn’t ready to give that to the team last year.”

He’d better be ready now. Humphries is penciled in as the starting right tackle on a team that expects to contend for the Super Bowl.

To say he’s looking forward to finally getting his chance is an understatement as big as he is.

“I’m almost jitterish, I’m so anxious,” he said.

Early on last year, Humphries earned the nickname “Knee Deep” from Arians because that’s how far his foot had to be up Humphries’ rear end to get his attention.

But slowly, steadily, he improved.

“The biggest thing was get stronger and learn that it wasn’t going to be easy,” Arians said Saturday before practice at training camp. “It had been easy his whole life. He was just plugged in as a starter wherever he’s been, and it wasn’t going to be that easy. He had to learn to work every single day, prepare every single day to become a pro. He was more than ready by Thanksgiving.”

Still, Humphries only watched as Bobby Massie held down the right tackle spot. But Massie was in the last year of his contract and the Cardinals weren’t willing to spend the money it would take to re-sign him. The job would go to Humphries. So far, the team hasn’t added a veteran tackle to push the 22-year-old or take over if things fall apart.

Quick kicks

Right tackle Anthony Davis has been reinstated by the NFL after an 11-month retirement that he planned to come back from all along. The San Francisco 49ers made the announcement Saturday ahead of their first day of training camp Sunday under new coach Chip Kelly. Davis was the 49ers’ first-round draft choice, the 11th overall pick, in the 2010 draft out of Rutgers. He was affected by a concussion late in the 2014 season. … Houston Texans star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins did not report to training camp Saturday. Entering his fourth pro season, Hopkins is holding out for a new contract. He is scheduled to make $1 million in salary in the final season of his rookie contract, though the Texans have picked up his fifth-year option.

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