Ex-NFL GM Calls Out Former First Round Pick Because He ‘Didn’t Love Football Enough’

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Steve Keim’s run as the Arizona Cardinals general manager didn’t exactly go as planned.

From the time Keim took over in 2013 to the time he stepped down in 2022, the Cardinals did not win a single playoff game and won the NFC West just once.

Along the way, Keim was arrested for DUI and suspended by the team in 2018.

He eventually stepped down in 2022, citing health reasons. Now, Keim is discussing his tenure and airing a lot of dirty laundry in the process.

Keim recently spoke about Cardinals stars Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins in a podcast interview with Chris Long. He talked about Murray’s work ethic and Hopkins’ prohibitive contract.

He’s also set his sights on yet another player he acquired while in Arizona.

In that same interview, Keim took aim at former first-round pick Robert Nkemdiche. The Cardinals selected Nkemdiche with the 29th pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. But he lasted just three years with the team and currently plays for the Michigan Panthers of the USFL.

Keim claims that Nkemdiche had the physical ability to be a star, but his lack of love for the game ended up being his downfall.

“In Arizona, I drafted Robert Nkemdiche with the 26th pick overall who we thought was a Top 10 talent and there were some concerns and questions about him coming out,” Keim told Long At the end of the day really, the guy just, in my opinion, didn’t love football enough. He didn’t succeed or play at a high level because he was in love with the process of going through the draft, being the top pick, getting money. But when it was time to grind, that wasn’t his focus.”

Now, you could certainly argue that it was Keim’s job to realize that before drafting Nkemdiche. But it’s still not a great look for the player.

Nkemdiche was the No. 1 overall recruit in the county in 2013 according to 247Sports. He went on to become a second-team All-American at Ole Miss before entering the NFL Draft.

His NFL career, however, never really took off. Nkemdiche spent three years in Arizona before stops in Miami, Seattle and San Francisco before joining the USFL.

At 28, he may yet find his way back onto an NFL roster. But it’s hard to imagine that’s how he saw his football career going during the draft process.