Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen arrived in Arizona with a reputation, and he spent the better part of the past year not living up to it.
That’s a good thing, because Rosen has been nothing like he was purported to be: an arrogant, spoiled rich kid who regarded football as a hobby, not a passion.
He’s proving that again this spring with the way he’s handled speculation the Cardinals are ready to take quarterback Kyler Murray No. 1 and trade Rosen to either the Seahawks, Giants, Raiders, Redskins, Patriots, Chargers, Broncos, Panthers or pretty much any professional football team other than the Rattlers.
Rosen’s countered with silence.
He hasn’t granted interviews lately. His social-media posts have been about taking classes at UCLA and visiting the Grand Canyon. There has not been one word of complaint about the Cardinals’ alleged willingness to replace him a year after trading up in the draft to take him 10th overall.
Rosen’s response was to be the first player in the building when offseason workouts began last week.
“He’s been phenomenal. He couldn’t have been better, honestly,” coach Kliff Kingsbury said Tuesday in a pre-draft news conference. “First one to show up, engaging, very sharp, as everyone knows. Can’t say enough good things about my interactions with Josh so far.”
What we don’t know is if Rosen has asked either Kingsbury or General Manager Steve Keim about their plans for the draft.
On Tuesday, Keim was asked that question directly and dodged it.
“We’ve had good dialogue,” Keim said. “He is a pro’s pro. The one thing I’ve appreciated about him the most since we drafted him, the kid has an unbelievable amount of mental toughness. You saw that last year as he took a beating and we went through the injuries up front.
“Physical toughness, mental toughness. Josh Rosen has it all.”
According to an NFL source, the Cardinals haven’t told Rosen of their plans for the No. 1 pick. Maybe that’s because Keim was telling the truth Tuesday when he said that decision has not been made, even though the draft begins in less than nine days.
As expected, Keim wasn’t about to lift the curtain and reveal his thoughts.
Why is Keim open to drafting a quarterback No. 1 a year after drafting Rosen?
“I never said I was,” he replied.
So is he not open to drafting a quarterback No. 1?
“I didn’t say that.”
This is the dance that is done in pre-draft news conferences. But Keim’s appreciation of Rosen’s toughness throughout 2018 was sincere.
Steve Keim explains why the Cardinals haven’t decided what they’re going to do with the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft.
Michael Chow, Arizona Republic
Rosen took a beating, didn’t play well and the Cardinals were historically bad on offense.
Through it all, Rosen never whined, pointed a finger or made so much as a passive-aggressive remark about the dreadful circumstance into which he was placed.
Granted, that’s how a person in a leadership position is supposed to act, but not all do. And contrast that with how some described Rosen at this time a year ago.
Aloof. Arrogant. A rich kid with varied interests.
Only the last part proved to be true, but one of those interests was football. And by all accounts, Rosen cared deeply about trying to salvage something from the wreckage of the 2018 season.
Here he is a few months later, dealing with rampant speculation that he will be one and done in Arizona because the Cardinals think they have found someone better.
We don’t know if that’s true. What we do know is Rosen has handled this the best way possible, by going to work, quietly.
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