BY: ED COLE
GLENDALE, Ariz. – If you were driving down the 101 on Tuesday, near University of Phoenix Stadium, you may have seen this big, hulking figure walking around Lawn C with a bunch of kids. If you were wondering who that person was in a Cardinals jersey, it was tight end Ifeanyi Momah, who, along with Big Red, led over 100 kids in a Kids Camp, presented by Albertsons.
There were multiple stations setup on the lawn, and with Momah and Big Red’s assistance, the kids ran through them all. Judging by the way the kids were huffing and puffing throughout the hour-long workout, and afterwards, Momah and Big Red put them through the ringer – all in good fun of course.
“It’s always fun to give back, and get around these kids, especially with Play 60, and seeing what they’re doing,” Momah said. “Seeing the kids running around, and having fun, it’s what it’s all about. They’re our fans, and they’re the reasons why we (have) a job, so you gotta come back, and hang out with them, (and) play with them a little bit. It’s always fun.”
Momah had similar types of programs, like Play 60, when he was growing up in Greenlawn, N.Y. Even though New York is primarily known as a basketball state, Momah got a chance to experience football, and learn about it more, which has served him well now that he’s a professional football player.
“There were different things going on, and I was able to take part in them,” Momah said. “Some Little League stuff, and guys would come back and talk to us. I got a chance to play in a National Championship game in Florida when I was eight years old. It’s always good to (be) a part of that stuff, and have it come around early (in life). It sticks with you forever.”
Momah looked pretty spry out there with the kids, even though they did all the work, with him supervising it all. He says his knee “feels good,” and he’s ready for the offseason workouts to begin on April 18, with the strength and conditioning program. Momah was lost for the entire 2015 season – just days before the Cardinals’ season opener with the New Orleans Saints – because of a knee injury he suffered in practice.
“Yeah, it was tough, especially the timing. Making the roster, you put in all that work in training camp, and you have a promising camp, and all that kind of leads into the season,” Momah said. “I was ready to follow through with that, and take advantage of it, and to have to injury happen is unfortunate, but I’m still here. They (Cardinals) still kept me around. They had faith in me to bring me back another year, so I’m excited to take advantage of this opportunity.”
As Momah said, the Cardinals decided to bring him back for one more season, despite him not playing a single regular season, or postseason, game last season. Momah says it’s all about proving to the Cardinals that he’s yet again worthy of making it past the final round of cuts in late August.
“It’s not too much about what I offer, it’s whatever I can bring to help is whatever I look for,” Momah said. “That’s what I’m going to look for, and that’s what’s going to keep me around. Everyday in practice, I look for ways to help out however I can, and that’s what’s going to keep me around, so I’ll keep sticking to that method.”
Momah’s bounced around the league over the last three years or so with the Philadelphia Eagles, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions and now the Cardinals. Things didn’t work out with the first three teams like Momah would’ve liked for them to, but he had a chance to redeem himself at the NFL Veteran Combine back on March 22, 2015, at, ironically enough, the Cardinals practice facility.
“I got lucky,” Momah said. “I was very fortunate to have that Veteran Combine the year that it was, because they didn’t have it again. I was able to take advantage of it, and I think the coaches were able to see that I was a good player, and it got me here, so I’m very grateful for that Veteran Combine.”
His time was short with the first three teams, for various reasons, but even when Momah was deep in those valleys after he was let go by them, he knew it was just a setup for his come-up, starting with the Veteran Combine.
“It’s just experience,” Momah said. “You get those years under your belt. I’ve been in the NFL for about four years now, and been cut a couple times, and you just keep learning and growing. Now, my skin’s a lot thicker. There’s nothing that I can do that will make me lose confidence, so I’m going to keep staying that way.”