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Updated Jul 25, 2014 - 5:00 am

Cardinals report to camp for first public practice

PHOENIX — The Valley is in the throes of summer, but believe it or not, it’s time for football.

The Arizona Cardinals are ready to start their preseason Cards Camp 2014 inside their air conditioned stadium in Glendale.

It all starts on Friday.

“Players report to University of Phoenix Stadium and check in later (on Friday),” said Cardinals Director of Communications Mark Dalton. “Our first practice is Saturday. Gates open at 1:30 p.m. The practice is at 2 p.m., until about 4:30 p.m.”

There will be 18 public practices in the camp this year, and there’s more to do than just watch. Kids have an interactive zone with an obstacle course, a quarterback toss and more. Plus, they can get autographs from their favorite players.

“We’ve got a children’s autograph experience for kids 2 to 12. Everyday after practice there will be an autograph area where certain players will go,” Dalton explained. “Everybody else can get autographs right after practice along the wall at the bottom of the field, where players are always signing after the sessions.”

Admission and parking are free, but Dalton said there is something to keep in mind.

“The parking on the weekdays is simply in the green and gray lots on the east side of the stadium,” said Dalton. “On the weekends, we open the west side and the orange lots.”

After holding preseason training camp for several years in Flagstaff, this is the second year that Cards camp is being held in Glendale. Dalton said that last year could not have gone better. Over 80,000 people attended, and the Saturday Fan Fest drew over 17,000 people. This year’s Fan Fest is set for Aug. 2.

Dalton said there’s excitement over this year’s team that “we haven’t seen since the Super Bowl years.” That’s because the team went from 5-11 in 2012 to 10-6 last year and has won seven of their last nine games heading into this season.

You can find out more about the Arizona Cardinals preseason at azcardinals.com.

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