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Here's why Arizona Cardinals cornerback Kei'Trel Clark missed rookie minicamp

Normally, it wouldn't be a good idea to miss the first day of a new job, but Clark had a pretty good reason to miss out on his first few days with the Cardinals.

TEMPE, Ariz. — The Arizona Cardinals continue to work through their first offseason under new head coach Jonathan Gannon and Gannon is far from the only new face at the team headquarters in Tempe.

One of those other new faces is rookie cornerback Kei’Trel Clark, who the Cardinals drafted in the sixth round of the NFL Draft in April.

And for many people, missing the first day of your first job out of college would be an absolute non-starter. But that’s not the case for Clark, who missed rookie minicamp earlier this month for a pretty good reason: he was graduating from the University of Louisville.

“I’ve been in my notes. I have countless notes,” Clark said.

Even though Clark is now done with school, studying is something he continues to do.

“I’m not afraid to ask questions, and (I’m) just enjoying this process,” Clark said. 

Clark showcased that he had no fear to ask questions when he asked to miss the first days of his new job with the Cardinals.

“I told coach (Jonathan Gannon), man, on my visit, I said I have to graduate, and rookie minicamp is during that time,” Clark said.

All rookies in the NFL are supposed to report to rookie minicamp a few weeks after being drafted.

Instead, the 180th-overall pick went back to college to graduate.

“I was the first person in my family to graduate, so I felt like that was something that I had to go do,” Clark said. “For my mother, for one, because that’s what she needed. She was like, you’re going to get that education. You’re going to graduate.”

The support from Gannon, a University of Louisville grad, has Clark feeling right at home.

And Clark’s mom, Anelia, couldn’t be prouder.  

“At one point, she was enjoying me getting drafted and then a week later, now I’m walking across the stage, so it’s kind of like she didn’t have the time to really sit and rejoice in the moment,” Clark said. “She texts me every day, saying ‘I miss my baby. I’m happy for you.’ But yeah, I’m just so happy.”

Clark is an example to his two little brothers and others who want to follow in his footsteps back home.

“(I) set the foundation for all of the loved ones that coming after me as well,” Clark said. “My diploma is going to last me for the rest of my life. We all know that football has a time limit on it.”

As for the new job here in Arizona, things are going great for Clark.

“I’m done with school, I don’t have to worry about a piece of paper or turning an assignment in anymore, so now it’s just all ball,” Clark said. “It’s time to go.” 

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