Jamell Fleming ready for Arizona Cardinals' camp

Former OU standout will battle for a starting cornerback job when training camp opens up Tuesday.
by Michael Baldwin Published: July 21, 2012

Fleming, who finished fifth on the team in tackles his junior and senior seasons, is physical. He bench-pressed 225 pounds 23 times at the NFL Combine. That's why Fleming is surprised when some have questioned his tackling skills.

“It's funny because I've had games where I led the team in tackles,” Fleming said. “Sometimes I'd have a game where I had 11 tackles and two interceptions. In the NFL, you have to be able to do both. But the real big thing is your coverage against receivers.”

That's Fleming's primary strength. He was second nationally in passes defended his junior season and also recorded five interceptions. He was named All-Big 12 last season.

Fleming said he's excited for the start of camp after getting a taste of the NFL during offseason workouts. He's already been matched a few times in practice against All-Pro wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

“I think that will help me a lot,” Fleming said. “He runs the best routes in the league. That helps me every day. If I can stop him, that gives me confidence I can stop anybody. Him being so good is a plus for me. The best part is he's on my team.”

The Arlington, Texas, product said it's a bigger adjustment from college to the NFL than high school to college, but he's ready for the challenge.

Highlighting his career at OU was being named the Defensive MVP in OU's bowl wins the past two seasons — a win over Connecticut in the Fiesta Bowl two years ago and a win last season over Iowa in the Insight Bowl.

“That gives me a little confidence, knowing that I can do it,” Fleming said. “But this is a different level. This is a job. In college everybody is pretty good. At this level everybody is really good. If I just get smart on the field, it will come naturally.”

by Michael Baldwin
Mike Baldwin has been a sports reporter for The Oklahoman since 1982. Mike graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1974 and attended Oklahoma Christian University, graduating with a journalism degree in 1978. Mike's first job was sports editor...
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