Cardinals' Palmer says he's restructured contract, ready to 'rock 'n' roll' next season

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TEMPE, Arizona — Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer says he has restructured his contract to help with the team's salary cap status with the aim of making a good team better come the free agency period.

Nearly 3½ months after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ACL, Palmer said he is "doing great."

"I'm going to be ready to rock and roll by the season, and I'm definitely going to be ready by that, definitely going to be ready for camp," he said, "and shooting to be getting reps in our mandatory mini, and hopefully in some of the OTA practices."

Palmer said on Thursday that he is throwing five days a week and has been running for two or three weeks.

"I'm pretty close to being able to just do the normal workout," he said.

Palmer said he feels so good he is "constantly being slowed down" by trainers.

"You just feel good and you want to do more and more," he said. "You are coming off of surgery and crutches, a brace, and then all these things that you just want to jump into things and you have to slow yourself down or have somebody slow you down."

Once he does come back, he said "the sky's the limit" for a Cardinals team that will be "as good as I've been on."

"And we're only going to get better next week I think," he said, referring to the start of the free agency period.

The Cardinals were helped when Palmer restructured his deal about a month ago. The team also re-signed Larry Fitzgerald to a two-year, $22 million contract that created more cap room.

Arizona was 6-0 with Palmer as the starter before he went down with the season-ending knee injury. The team went on to finish 11-5 and earn a wild card playoff berth, but when backup quarterback Drew Stanton also went down with an injury, the team's offense stalled under third-stringer Ryan Lindley and Arizona lost to Carolina in the divisional round of the playoffs.

Palmer acknowledged that he went through a tough period mentally in the weeks following the injury.

"It took a long time to just get out of that funk you get in just because you have surgery and you are a month out of surgery and you just want to go run," he said. "You want to sweat, but you can't because you have stitches in your knee and there are infection concerns and all these things.

"Really until I started being able to sweat and work out again and feel like I am training for football as opposed to just going in and doing leg extensions, calf raises and some things that seem monotonous or silly at the time. The last month or so really has been fun again, because I've been lifting weights and getting ready for 2015."


AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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