When D.J. Humphries became teammates with veteran tackle Andre Smith in 2018, he received advice that remained with him: Don’t ever let this league surprise you.
It’s why the contract situation between the organization and quarterback Kyler Murray, which dominated headlines this offseason, hasn’t been a shock for the offensive tackle. But just like on gameday, Humphries has Murray’s back.
“I support my guy all the way,” Humphries said Monday after the team’s OTA. “That’s my quarterback. I saw a quote the other day saying have you seen the organization before he got here. I was here with Carson (Palmer), so I’ve seen greatness, but that statement is not a lie.
“If you think Kyler is not our future, then you’re a plum fool. There’s no question of that.”
You’d also have to be foolish to think Humphries’ own contract situation is also top of mind for both him and the team. Humphries is set to become a free agent after this season, after signing a three-year contract extension with the team in 2020.
Not that Humphries believes he and the Cardinals won’t find common ground.
“Hell yeah,” Humphries said. “Left tackles don’t grow on trees, baby.”
Humphries, 28, still considers himself part of the team’s young crew and has been the Cardinals’ most dependable lineman. His consecutive games streak of 47 ended last season after catching Covid before the Week 17 matchup against the Cowboys.
Humphries returned in Week 18 for the season home finale against the Seahawks but acknowledged it was difficult as he struggled.
“It’s one of those things you can’t account for and if you miss any time during the season (because of it), there’s an adjustment in coming back,” Humphries said. “Let alone if you miss time with a respiratory injury and then play 80-plus snaps every game.
“But I was brought into ‘If you’re on that field, you can go.’ Nobody cares about you having Covid. Having that mentality helped me get through it, but I won’t act like it’s easy.”
Coach Kliff Kingsbury said Humphries was also dealing with non-Covid nagging injuries by the end of the season. But he sees Humphries’ leadership — going into his eighth season with the franchise — as crucial, as is his mere standing as the left tackle.
That won’t change in the future, at least not the future Humphries sees. He joked about ending up as a Hollywood actor after his turn on “Hard Knocks In Season” this year, but if he continues as a football player, Arizona is the place it should be.
“My plan was to play here my whole career,” Humphries said. “If something happens outside of the plan, you live with how it comes. But the plan is the plan. We’re going to set out to do it a certain way.”