Thu, 28 May 2020

Adapting To Reality Priority For Michael Bidwill, Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals
01 Apr 2020, 18:03 GMT+10

Michael Bidwill was at State Farm Stadium Tuesday, first to give blood in the first of three blood drives being held at the home of the Cardinals, and then to conduct a virtual press conference.

The president and chairman of the Cardinals touched on a number of topics, football and otherwise, as his franchise negotiates - as everyone else - a new world of limited contact and movement thanks to the coronavirus.

"I think everybody is adapting to the reality of this pandemic and what it has put on not just our industry but every industry," Bidwill said. "Everyone is trying to deal with it."

That starts with the draft. Bidwill deferred long-term questions about the league beyond the draft to the league itself, saying the guidance for teams will come from the league level. But for now, it's about the draft, which will be held during its normal timeframe - April 23-25 - albeit virtually.

That has put pressure on teams to get organized for such a feat, but Bidwill is confident the Cardinals will make it work.

"The MVPs of the Cardinals over the last three, four weeks have been our IT (Information Technology) department," Bidwill said.

-- Bidwill smiled when asked about the Cardinals' offseason of acquisitions thus far, including the trade for wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Bidwill was looped in to the talks as they unfolded, and getting Hopkins was a "big upgrade."

"With all the coronavirius happening and (the team) going to a skeleton staff and eventually closing our offices, I thought getting through free agency, executing the trade of DeAndre Hopkins, everything went very well," Bidwill said. "I was impressed how our staff was able to handle the changes."

-- As for his evaluation of GM Steve Keim - and what has happened over the last 14 months since Bidwill decided to keep Keim in place while firing Steve Wilks and hiring Kliff Kingsbury -- "I always thought Steve Keim was a good GM and I wanted to keep him on," Bidwill said.

"There were a lot of things that have happened over the last 14 months, and particularly in free agency and we're hoping for a good draft. (But) that's what I thought then and I still think it today."

-- Bidwill said he wasn't sure which players who have signed have yet to take physicals. "That's not a detail I have been focused on at this stage," he said. "I do know it has been a challenge."

Outside of football, Bidwill said the organization continues to pay hourly staff working for the team at the Cardinals' Tempe facility and at the stadium even while people work from home. He declined to get into details about what the Cardinals might do if the coronavirus would start to eat into the season.

-- Asked about use of State Farm Stadium for public health reasons, Bidwill reiterated the three blood drives being held there and said Governor Doug Ducey's office and the Army Corps of Engineers continue to look at different facilities locally that could be of use.

-- After Phoenix Police Commander Greg Carnicle lost his life recently on the job just weeks before he was to retire, Bidwill made a $50,000 donation toward the family.

"We have a close relationship with the Phoenix Police Department and we were heartbroken with their loss," Bidwill said. "It was really a loss for all of us. We try to support our law enforcement, and when things like this happen, you can do something for the family."

-- Bidwill also said the NFL has weathered many different issues in its 100 years, and it was continuing to find the best path while the world deals with COVID-19.

"The NFL has been through a lot of things," Bidwill said. "It was formed before the Great Depression, it went through the Great Depression, through World War II there were teams that merged because generally there were not enough young men to field teams. The league has been through a lot, the Vietnam War, but certainly nothing like this. I know the commissioner and everyone is trying to do their best in making the best decisions to keep our employees and our players safe, but also make the best decisions that we can."

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