D.J.'s holdout opens the door for another D.J. at Cardinals

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Valley native D.J. is getting set for his second season with his hometown Arizona Cardinals. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Valley native D.J. is getting set for his second season with his hometown Arizona Cardinals. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

Day three of Cardinals minicamp and still no David Johnson. While the star running back’s quest for a new contract will be the talk of the summer, it’s also opened the door for another D.J. It’s a D.J. that Valley sports fans know very well.

“I just try to come to work every day with a smile on my face and enjoying it,” said D.J. Foster.  “I love the rb room. We work well together, we’re growing together. We’ve got guys al all different levels for their career and we’re just all picking off each other and competing as well.”

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Foster first burst on the scene at Saguaro High School, setting the state record by scoring 10 touchdowns in one game. He stayed home to play at ASU, and came close to leading the Sun Devils to a Pac 12 title. Foster made the move to receiver his senior season. It was a move that didn’t produce big numbers. For the first time in his football career, Foster left the Valley. He won a Super Bowl ring with New England in 2016. 

“It definitely beats seven degrees in Boston,” joked Foster when asked about returning to the desert heat.

The Cardinals signed Foster off the New England practice squad last season. He played in seven games, catching 17 passes and carrying the ball six times. He’s living out his hometown dream, but Foster isn’t the only Saguaro alum who’s made it all the way to the Cardinals.

“It’s awesome. That’s my big brother right there. We go way back,” said Christian Kirk, the Cardinals second round draft pick in 2018 out of Texas A&M.  “Just to be able to have him out there. I sit next to him in the team meeting room. Just to have a guy in there that I've known for so long, and to be able to go out there and have him to go to work with is awesome."

Kirk was a freshman when Foster was a senior at Saguaro. Recently, Sabercats Coach Jason Mohns mad the trip out to Cardinals practice to watch the former Sabercats.

“He's always been my little bro,” said Foster. “I remember how excited I was when I got to come back home. The reality of him coming back here and being an Arizona Cardinal. I know how much that meant to him and I see how hard he's working and how much it means to him to be here in the NFL."

Foster seems to be a favorite of his teammates. 

Recently lineman Evan Boehm grabbed the AZ Family microphone and discussed Foster planning his wedding on the exact same day as Boehm’s nuptials. It’s a dream story but the Cardinals have a crowded running back room. Foster knows he needs to do something special to catch the coach’s eye.

“For me it's just do as much as can, returner, wing,” said Foster.  “As I learned in my two years in the NFL, do as much as you can.  That's the best way to get on the field in the NFL.” 

With Johnson out, new Cardinals Head Coach Steve Wilks made mention of Foster’s work this spring.

“You look at DJ, what he's been doing all off season,” said Wilks about the reps for other running backs in Johnson’s absence.  “Al those guys are doing tremendous job.  What we try to do offensively, we have a rotation back there.  You want a guy to step up who's going to give you the same elements, from a standpoint as 3 down back, in space and in pass protection."

The D.J. Foster story is on that coaches can tell all over Arizona.  Foster hopes the NFL chapter has many more pages left to write.

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