Cardinals aim for Super Bowl as conditioning begins

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) The Arizona Cardinals began their offseason conditioning program Monday loaded with optimism and with what they believe is a realistic goal of reaching the Super Bowl.

Nearly all of the players on the roster showed up for the first session for a team that won 14 games, counting the playoffs, last season before being clobbered by Carolina in the NFC championship game.

''The guys that were here last year and coming close,'' quarterback Carson Palmer said, ''and the guys that are coming into this team and seeing how good we were last year realize that we have an opportunity and there's something special going on here.''

Defensive lineman Calais Campbell said the opening conditioning session was ''kind of like the first day of school.''

''Everybody's goal is to win a Super Bowl,'' he said. ''This is just the beginning, the first step right here.''

Things are completely different for Palmer this season. A year ago, he was rehabilitating from surgery to repair a torn ACL. This year, he's completely healthy.

At age 36, Palmer said there's no easing up in these workouts.

''There's kind of a falsity that people think the older you get, the less you train,'' Palmer said. ''It's actually the opposite. The older you get, the harder you train.''

The Cardinals' biggest offseason acquisitions, outside linebacker Chandler Jones and guard Evan Mathis, were among those working out at the team's practice facility.

Mathis said the big turnout ''shows the camaraderie and willingness to get together and win.''

Palmer praised the signing of Mathis, a starter for last season's Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos, for an offensive line that will have three new members next season.

''Getting a guy like Evan in here is huge,'' Palmer said, ''a guy that's proven, a guy that's played well.''

Jones said he was excited to see his former team, the New England Patriots, come to Arizona to meet the Cardinals in the teams' season opener.

''My biggest thing now is to gel with the guys and get the playbook down,'' he said.

The Cardinals begin so-called voluntary practices, OTAs, on May 17.

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