Northern Arizona University will again be the backdrop for the Arizona Cardinals when the football team returns to campus in late July to begin its 2012 training camp.

Players will report to NAU on Tuesday, July 24, and begin practice the following afternoon. The club will break camp on Tuesday, Aug. 21.

In all, the team will conduct a total of 21 practices during its stay at NAU.

Sports Illustrated ranked NAU among the top three preseason NFL training camps in the nation, calling the campus “a gorgeous sight to see” with pristinely kept fields and terrific access to the players. ESPN and CBS Sports.com have called the Cardinals training camp at NAU one of the best venues in the NFL. NAU’s outdoor fields allow close proximity to practices and players, and last year’s $25 million renovation of the Skydome improved an already great indoor training facility.

Highlights from the 2012 schedule include the annual Red and White Practice, which draws nearly 10,000 fans each year. This year, the Red and White Practice will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:20 p.m. on Saturday, July 28. Weather permitting, the practice will be preceded by an outdoor full-team autograph session for kids 12 and younger beginning at 10:45 a.m., and conclude with a live goal-line session.

The Cardinals also will have a night practice from 7:15-9:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 1, at the remodeled Lumberjack Stadium on NAU’s campus.

All other practices will be held on the grass fields adjacent to the Walkup Skydome. In the event of inclement weather, they will be moved inside the Skydome.

The Cardinals will be away from Flagstaff the week of Aug. 5 when they play two preseason games in five days—one against the New Orleans Saints on Aug. 5 in Canton, Ohio, and on Aug. 10 when they meet the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.

Admission and parking are both free. Cardinals players and coaches will be available following each outdoor practice to sign autographs as they come off the field. Details are available at www.azcardinals.com.