OUTSIDE THE HUDDLE WITH BUDDA BAKER
Each week, azcentral sports NFL writer Bob McManaman spotlights a member of the Arizona Cardinals for a series of on-the-spot, off-beat questions.
This week: Budda Baker, safety
Question: So I don’t know if you’ve heard, but the NFL just relaxed all those rules about not letting college-drafted players with spring semesters participate in offseason workouts with their NFL teams. About a year too late for you, huh?
Answer: (Smiles) Oh, really? I didn’t hear that. I mean, shoot. That sucks. It’s definitely good for next year’s draft class, but it doesn’t help me. I wasn’t able to do anything until (training) camp started.
Q: So what did you do, study the playbook and schemes through the mail or what? Sounds like having to go to school all over again, doesn’t it?
A: Yeah, it was like that. I could call up and ask them questions. It was definitely hard not being with the team.
Q: What was your first NFL “wow!” moment? Was it being drafted? Was it the first time stepping on the field with some of these guys?
A: I’m not really a "wow" type of guy. I was just real excited when I heard my name called on draft day. Other than that, it was just, "All right, I’m getting an opportunity to play in the NFL," and that was all I wanted.
Q: How did you feel when you opened your first NFL paycheck?
A: (Smiles) It was nice, but taxes take a lot out, man. It was really nice to see my first paycheck, though.
Q: So what’s the first thing you bought for yourself? It had to be a new set of wheels, right?
A: Yeah, that’s the first thing I bought and that’s really the only thing I bought – I bought a Range Rover. Q: Sweet. Get anything for your mom? A: Mom, anytime she needs something I’ll help her out. I’m waiting until I’m a little more established to do something big for her.
Q: You talked about your mom a lot after these guys drafted you this year and how you are her biggest fan. What’s it about your mom that makes you her biggest fan?
A: I’m a fan of my mom, meaning she’s one of the strongest people I know. Just seeing her never give up on us, raising us kids as a single parent, her taking care of all the kids and her doing what she needed to do to ultimately put a roof over our heads. That’s what I applaud her on and still applaud her on.
Q: She’s had a lot of health problems, doesn’t she?
A: Yeah. Asthma. Crohn’s disease. She’s a cancer survivor. Even all these bad things have happened to her, she still keeps a smile on her face and still does what she needs to do.
Q: When you get your first game ball – and you haven’t gotten one yet – it’s going straight to Mom, isn’t it?
A: Yeah. Of course, yeah. I’m not one really much for memorabilia so I’ll give that stuff to my family members and mom will definitely get that.
Q: So what’s it like for a rookie finding a place to live in a new city? How’d you go about finding a home?
A: Ask the players. The first thing I did was ask Tyrann (Mathieu) and he introduced me to his realtor and his realtor took me all around Arizona – Chandler, Tempe, Scottsdale, everywhere. I live in Scottsdale in a little condo out there.
Q: You know Tyrann had to chase a bunch of wild javelina out of his front yard when he found his place. Seen any of those things roaming around your neighborhood?
A: I haven’t seen any of that yet, thank goodness.
– Bob McManaman