Virus at Northern Arizona prompts team to move camp
TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Cardinals are moving their training camp south 78 miles from Flagstaff to Prescott after a viral outbreak on the Northern Arizona University campus, where the team normally stays.
The decision to move was made Monday, and after a quick bus tour by team officials, Prescott was chosen as the new site on Tuesday. The Cardinals already planned a three-day extended training camp there Aug. 24-26.
The camp will open as scheduled, with players gathering on Sunday and the first workout on Monday.
"It will be a minimal distraction for our football team," said Rod Graves, Cardinals vice president of football operations. "In fact, players will hardly know the difference, other than a change of scenery."
The team will stay in dormitories at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University until the first preseason game, at home against Dallas on Aug. 13. After that, the players and staff will move to a nearby hotel until camp ends Aug. 24.
Workouts will be held on three fields at the university, or at three community fields offered by the city.
Coach Dennis Green praised the team's staff for pulling off the quick switch, and said it will be business as usual.
"We came up on a situation where we had to respond," Green said. "In football, you can't sit around and cry about it. Time moves on. Nobody's going to say to the Arizona Cardinals, `Too bad."'
The elevation at Prescott is 5,400 feet, compared to the thin air of Flagstaff at 7,200 feet. The high temperature should be in the 80s, Green said, warmer than Flagstaff but far cooler than the triple digits players would have endured at their training facility in Tempe.
"It's training camp," Graves said. "It's not meant to be easy and luxurious and all of that. In some respects, I think that Dennis Green thrives on these type of adjustments. I think it just shows the kind of person that he is, the kind of coach that he is, and I think through something like this, we'll be a better football team as a result of it."
Training camp is "three hots and a cot and a whole lot of football," the coach said.
The Cardinals have held training camp in Flagstaff since the franchise moved to Arizona in 1988, but they might not return next season.
"This year marks the end of our agreement with Flagstaff," Graves said, "and as we would do in any situation like this, we're going to open it up and take a look at what our options are."