Kevin Kolb introduced by Cardinals
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Kevin Kolb has arrived in Arizona as the new quarterback of a Cardinals team in desperate need of one, acknowledging the pressure he will be under to succeed but saying the situation simply "feels right."
"You just know when something feels right and this one feels right," he said, "all the way from flying in, driving through town, getting here to the facility, talking with everybody, meeting the players, it feels really good."
Kolb appeared at a news conference Friday after undergoing his physical.
Later, he traveled north to the team's training camp in Flagstaff for an evening team meeting. The Cardinals hold their first practice on Saturday but, because he signed a new contract, Kolb won't be able to work out with his new team until next Thursday.
The Cardinals sent cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a 2012 second-round draft pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for Kolb in a deal reached on Wednesday. Kolb also has agreed to a five-year contract worth just under $64 million, with $21 million guaranteed.
Kolb traced his interest in playing for Arizona to the NFC championship game in the 2008 season, when he watched from the Eagles sidelines as the Cardinals won 32-25.
"I just kind of always marked this one down as one of my favorites," he said, "kept it in the back of my mind."
What impressed him?
"To be quite honest, first it was the stadium. I mean, the stadium was tremendous," Kolb said. "I was shocked by it. The city alone, just how clean and nice the city looked. Granted, I was coming from Philadelphia, but it was just a great city."
That line drew a big laugh from the packed news conference.
He went on to talk about the game itself, how the Cardinals answered every challenge.
Kolb was the Eagles' second-round draft pick in 2007 and won the starting job after Donovan McNabb's departure before the 2010 season. But after leaving the opener with a concussion, Kolb lost the job to Michael Vick. He comes to Arizona with just seven career starts, and he knows that he remains unproven. Now he must show that he is worth the high price the Cardinals paid for him.
"But there was a lot of pressure in every situation I've been thrown in so far," he said, "so it's nothing new for me. I look forward to the challenge. I look forward to answering a lot of critics and just playing my ball and settling in with this team and going and making a run."
Kolb came to Arizona earlier in the year and worked out with star receiver Larry Fitzgerald. It was, Kolb admits, an audition of sorts, a tryout he expects to go on for some time.
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"But I think every day is going to feel like that, especially here for really the first year probably," Kolb said. "Week in and week out, it's going to be something different, every single day. But that's anywhere really, everywhere you go."
He is not pleased with the prospect of just watching practices for the first five days of camp.
"That's going to be a little difficult, watching the other guys practice and wanting to be out there in the heat of the battle," Kolb said. "That's how you earn respect. Forget the figures. Forget what we gave up, they gave up. You're ready to go in there and earn the respect on the field from your teammates."
He comes to a city still longing for the days of Kurt Warner. When Warner retired after leading Arizona to a second straight NFC West title in 2009, the drop-off at quarterback was a major reason the team fell to 5-11, the worst record in coach Ken Whisenhunt's four years with the Cardinals. The debacle set the stage for the franchise's willingness to give up so much to land Kolb.
"I've watched a lot of film on Kurt," Kolb said. "The things he does on the field are masterful in his mind. The mental game he has is unbelievable. That's something you can try to mimic. You'll never probably get there, but you can try to bring in more of that to your own game."
A football coach's son, Kolb said he has been a "gym rat" for as long as he can remember.
"Football has been a part of my life forever," he said.
Kolb was raised in north Texas, where he now owns a 2,500-acre ranch. Someone asked about stories that he went boar hunting with a knife, not a gun. The quarterback laughed.
"It's really not as dangerous as it sounds," he said, "but there is a kamikaze side, I guess, out there. I don't do it anymore. Once my hands started making me a little money, I stopped doing it."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press
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