OUT­SIDE THE HUD­DLE WITH BUDDA BAKER

The Arizona Republic - - Azcentral Sports -

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

Baker

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