Cooler, Closer Days Of Summer Football

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Traveling to the campus of Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff to watch an Arizona Cardinals preseason practice session or scrimmage has long been a popular gridiron respite for Rim Country football fans.

After all, the weather is cool, there are no admission or parking charges and fans are able to inch much closer to the action than possible when attending regular season games at the mammoth University of Phoenix arena in Glendale.

This year's practices might be the most entertaining since sessions held in late 1990s, when former Arizona State University greats Pat Tillman and Jake Plummer were on the team.

What with speedy and talented wide outs Anquan Boldin, Larry Fitzgerald and Bryant Johnson hauling in quarterback Matt Leinhart's passes, an aerial circus could be a camp highlight.

And, if past rumors about Leinhart and Paris Hilton being sweethearts are true, maybe there's a chance of seeing Paris the Heiress living the simple life in Flagstaff.

She might even be coaxed into uttering a few well-chosen words about her summertime slammer time.

The schedule

For those planning an outing to see the Cards in action, this information comes from team officials.

Arizona players will report to N.A.U. the night of Friday, July 27, and begin practice on Sunday, July 29. The Cardinals will break camp on Thursday, Aug. 23.

During the stay, the team will conduct a total of 28 practices in Flagstaff.

On Saturday, Aug. 4, the Cardinals will host a special "Red and White" practice from 11:15 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. The practice will be preceded by a full-team autograph session and conclude with a live goal-line session.

Another highlight of this year's training camp will be a pair of Wednesday night practices that will be held on Aug. 1 and Aug. 8 from 7:05 to 9 p.m. at Lumberjack Stadium on N.A.U.'s campus.

All other practices in Flagstaff will be held on the grass fields adjacent to the Walkup Skydome. In the event of inclement weather, they will be moved inside to the Skydome.

Practice times are subject to change and fans are encouraged to check the team's official Web site, www.azcardinals.com, for the most up-to-date practice information.

In addition, Cardinals players and coaches will be available following each practice to sign autographs, as they come off the field. All practices at NAU are open to the public.

This is a tentative practice schedule through Aug. 16 released by the team early this week:

Sunday, 7/29/07

1 to 3:05 p.m.

Monday, 7/30/07

9:05 to 10:30 a.m.

3:05 to 5:05 p.m.

Tuesday, 7/31/07

3:05 to 5:05 p.m.

Wednesday, 8/1/07

9:05 to 10:35 a.m.

7:05 to 9 p.m.

(Lumberjack Stadium)

Thursday, 8/2/07

3:05 to 5:05 p.m.

Friday, 8/3/07

9:05 to 10:30 a.m.

3:05 to 5:05 p.m.

Saturday, 8/4/07

11:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Monday, 8/6/07

9:05 to 10:40 a.m.

3:05 to 5:05 p.m.

Tuesday, 8/7/07

3:05 to 4:55 p.m.

Wednesday, 8/8/07

9:05 to 10:30 a.m.

7:05 to 9:10 p.m.

Thursday, 8/9/07

3:05 to 4:55 p.m.

Friday, 8/10/07

9 to 10:10 a.m. (Walk thru)

Monday, 8/13/07

3:05 to 5:05 p.m.

Tuesday, 8/14/07

3:05 to 5:15 p.m.

Wednesday, 8/15/07

9:05 to 10:35 a.m.

3:05 to 5 p.m.

Thursday, 8/16/07

3:05 to 4:55 p.m.

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