No one volunteers for two days in The Pit, the figurative place where injured Cardinals go while their teammates practice.
"A lot of places, injured players don't do anything in practice; they get to stand back and watch practice," strength and conditioning coach Pat Moorer said. "Here, on the other hand, we have The Pit."
The Pit is a workout regimen designed by Moorer and his staff to keep players mentally and physically sharp - and to weed out those who might try to milk an injury to avoid practice. They take the injury into account, so if a player has, say, a lower body injury, he works his upper body in The Pit.
However the coaches tailor it, the player is going to work.
"What an injured player has to realize is when he's injured, it's no day off for him," said head coach Charlie Strong, who wants The Pit to be so demanding that injured players clamor to return to practice.
Moorer has shunned interview requests since arriving with Strong in 2010. He's quite comfortable working behind the scenes and doesn't seek the spotlight. But having heard many players tell stories about The Pit for the past two seasons, I asked him if he'd speak to me about it.
"One condition," Moorer said. "You have to go through The Pit."
Now here is where the flashbacks of several interviews, which should have served as warnings, floated through my mind.
There was running back Jeremy Wright saying, "The Pit life is nothing good," as he burst into laughter while shaking his head at the memories of it.
Receiver Damian Copeland seemed to have a few flashbacks of his own before offering: "Man, when you're in The Pit, you want to practice. In your mind you're saying, 'I want to get up out of here.' "
Offensive tackle Alex Kupper described it as a "hell on Earth kind of deal."
My goal wasn't to be Superman. It was to survive. I quickly found out not even that would be easy.
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