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Conner: Cardinals 'cleansed' roster, bought into team-first mentality

Norm Hall / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner believes the team is buying into head coach Jonathan Gannon's vision ahead of Year 2.

"Our message has been maximizing yourself on the field and off the field, trying to put the best product on the field that we've got," Conner said on the "Rich Eisen Show" on Wednesday. "We've got a talented team, so if guys can put their best product on the field, we'll be in good shape."

Conner said Arizona had moved on from players who'd been prioritizing their own goals over the team's success.

"We cleansed the roster," Conner said. "Guys who weren't serious about football, guys who were not in it for the right reasons, guys who didn't put the team first - we were slowly weeding that stuff out. That's what it takes. We cleansed, and now we're ready to attack."

Arizona posted a 4-13 record in Gannon's first year at the helm. The Cardinals built a reputation as a team that played hard despite a relative lack of talent across the roster.

General manager Monti Ossenfort injected some talented pieces in free agency, including Zay Jones, Justin Jones, and Jonah Williams. The Cardinals also pieced together an impressive draft haul headlined by first-rounders Marvin Harrison Jr. and Darius Robinson.

"We just want people who love football," said Conner.

The two-time Pro Bowler posted a career-high 1,040 yards to go along with seven touchdowns in 2023. Conner will play out the final year of a three-year, $21-million contract signed in 2022.

The Pitt product has rushed for 2,574 yards and 29 scores while averaging 4.3 yards per carry in three seasons with the Cardinals.

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