Cards to train at Northern Arizona University through 2012

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- The Arizona Cardinals have signed a three-year contract extension with Northern Arizona University that will keep the team's training camp on the school's campus through 2012.

The Cardinals have escaped the searing summer heat of the Phoenix area to train at the 7,000-foot elevation of Flagstaff since the franchise moved to Arizona in 1988. The only exception was 2005, when the camp was moved to Prescott because of a flu outbreak on the NAU campus. The university estimates the camp brings an annual $2 million to the area economy. Last year, an estimated 10,000 fans attended the Cardinal's "Red & White" outdoor practice, which was preceded by a full-team autograph session.

The Flagstaff Sports Foundation inducted Cardinals' owner Bill Bidwill into its Hall of Fame in 2009, recognizing his contribution to the city through bringing the Cardinals to northern Arizona for more than 20 years.

Sports Illustrated rated the Cardinals training camp at NAU in the top three camps in the nation, citing the temperate summers, well-kept facilities and close proximity of players to fans.

Arizona players will report to camp on July 30.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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