Cardinals Talk COVID-19 Tests; Kennard 'Sweating Bullets'

Howard Balzer

The country was able to see up close and personal how NFL teams are dealing with COVID-19 in training camp during Tuesday night’s premiere episode of “Hard Knocks,” which this year features the Los Angeles Chargers and Rams.

One of the more humorous segments came when Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward was anxious as a nurse tried to swab inside his nose for the test that is done every day.

Wednesday, after the Cardinals had their first camp practice at State Farm Stadium in what is called “the ramp-up period,” and is similar to what normally occurs during OTAs in May and June, players talked to the media about their virus-related experience thus far.

Linebacker Devon Kennard acknowledged having some concerns of what the tests would be like.

He said, “I definitely had to get used to the swabs in the nose, but I was grateful it's not the ones that I've seen videos of that was like, all the way up, like in your brain. I was freaking sweating bullets worrying about that's how the tests were going to be. And I’d have to do that every day. So, it's just a little bit into your nose. It just tickles and is kind of irritating. They do it for 15 seconds each nostril; it's not a big deal.

“Once you get used to the protocols, it just is what it is. You get in a rhythm, habit. Being out here at State Farm; wake up in the morning, that's like the first thing I do. I have to pass there to get to the meal room so it's just like anything else, you just get used to it. It becomes your rhythm of the day and you knock it out and you move on.”

Wide receiver Christian Kirk talked about other aspects of what the team, led by trainer Tom Reed, has done.

“We have plexiglas between the lockers. There's usually a locker in between every player and they've divided us up. So not every position group is among one another just in case somebody gets infected, you don't want your whole position group to kind of get wiped out from COVID. So there's a wide receiver and a lineman next to one another, and then maybe a QB. In the lunchroom, everything's grab and go. They've really done a good job of just limiting contact, following the social distancing guidelines when we're in our team meetings, everybody sitting six feet apart from one another, everybody's done a really good job.”

Kirk added that the organization “has done such a great job of making it easy for us. We go in every morning, before you do anything, just stop by you get a swab, takes about two minutes. You fill out a little survey just to make sure you don't have a temperature, you don't have any of the symptoms and then you know you're good to go. There's one entrance and there's one exit, so there’s so many tools put in place for us to make sure that we're all safe and following the protocols.”

It’s a training camp different than anyone has ever known.

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