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D.J. Humphries says being a healthy scratch all year “humbled” him

Kansas City Chiefs v Arizona Cardinals

GLENDALE, AZ - AUGUST 15: Offensive tackle D.J. Humphries #74 of the Arizona Cardinals watches from the sidelines during the pre-season NFL game against the Kansas City Chiefs at the University of Phoenix Stadium on August 15, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. The Chiefs defeated the Cardinals 34-19. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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If D.J. Humphries felt good about being a first-round pick last year, being a healthy scratch all 18 times the Cardinals played last year brought him back down to Earth.

But with Bobby Massie gone in free agency, the Cardinals need Humphries to win the starting job right tackle this year, and he says he’s ready to do just that.

Humphries told Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic that he thanked Cardinals coach Bruce Arians for sitting him every single week, saying it gave him future motivation.

“I told him that in an exit meeting, he burned a pit in my chest and made me a different kind of person,” Humphries said. “It humbled me and tricked my brain back into [thinking], ‘You’re a pup. You have to earn it right now.’ ”

Humphries admitted he was “pudgy” and “weak” last year, saying he lost 20 pounds and gained strength in the year since he was chosen 24th overall, calling his year of being inactive “a living hell.”

“That’s the only way I can describe it,” Humphries said. “As long as I’ve played football I’ve been ‘the guy.’ To have to actually regress and be a cheerleader, I had to go from being angry about it to understanding, ‘OK, I can never feel like this again, this can never happen again. It’s not me, it’s not who I am, I don’t ride the bench. I play ball.’ ”

Humphries also has the benefit of a veteran next to him, since the Cardinals signed guard Evan Mathis, which should help the education of the former Florida tackle. But they also had the benefit of a deep enough roster to afford to redshirt a first-rounder, which not every team is able to do.