Thursday, June 30, 2022

Cardinals’ Rodney Hudson skips mandatory minicamp; Kliff Kingsbury says absence is unexcused

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USA Today

Rodney Hudson has been a notable absence at Arizona Cardinals‘ mandatory minicamp. Without going into further detail, Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said Hudson’s absence is unexcused. 

A three-time Pro Bowl center, Hudson is entering his second season with the Cardinals. The 32-year-old spent his first six NFL seasons in Kansas City and the following four seasons with the Raiders. Hudson is one year into his three-year, $30 million contract restructure that he signed with the Cardinals last spring. 

“No update. We’re working through something with him,” Kingsbury said of Hudson’s absence. “As soon as we know, we’ll have that update.”

With Hudson absent, veteran offensive lineman Justin Pugh is open to filling Hudson’s spot at center, at least for the time being. The 13th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, Pugh has started 114 of 115 regular season games, mostly at tackle and guard. 

“I could see myself playing center,” Pugh said, via the team’s website. “I’ve capped out money-wise at guard. Why not go out and see if I can play center? In this offseason, with Kyler (Murray), center is a very important position. There are a lot of centers that play older in their years, because physically it’s not as demanding. Mentally it’s much more intense, and that’s where I think I can succeed.

“We’ll try it out. We’ll see how it goes. If I don’t play real well, you’ll see me at left guard.”

The Cardinals are coming off an 11-6 regular season and the franchise’s first playoff berth since 2015. While they didn’t make many offseason splashes, the Cardinals were able to pull off a trade that brought former Ravens wideout Marquise Brown to Arizona. Brown’s addition will help mask the absence of receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who will miss the season’s first six games after violating the league’s performance-enhancing drugs policy.

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