Tagged in: Arizona Cardinals

Four-time Pro Bowl guard Mike Iupati says he’s retiring after 11 seasons

Four-time Pro Bowl guard Mike Iupati, who spent the past two years with the Seattle Seahawks, is retiring after 11 seasons in the NFL.

Iupati revealed his decision in an interview with Spokane newspaper The Spokesman-Review, saying, “My body was telling me it was time to close the door.”

The 33-year-old was a first-team All-Pro in 2012 with the San Francisco 49ers, who drafted him 17th overall out of Idaho in 2010. He made three Pro Bowls in five seasons with the 49ers and one in four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals. He then played on consecutive one-year deals with the Seahawks, starting 25 matches.

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A model of toughness, Iupati played through multiple injuries in the latter portion of his career, most notably dealing with a chronic neck issue that started in 2015 and ultimately convinced him his time in football was over.

Iupati missed six games in 2020 while dealing with injuries to his knee, back and neck.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll referred to Iupati’s late-season neck injury as a stinger and said it was something he had dealt with earlier in his career. According to The Spokesman-Review, “a chronic neck condition convinced him he needed to give the game up.”

“I know I’m going to miss it,” Iupati told the newspaper about playing football. “But I’m kind of excited. I’ve got four boys and I’m taking care of them every day.”

Iupati told the newspaper his goal was to play 10 NFL seasons. Spotrac.com lists him with more than $50.75 million in on-field earnings over his career. Iupati and center Ethan Pocic were Seattle’s two starting offensive linemen from 2020 who were planned to become unrestricted free agents.

Earlier this month, quarterback Russell Wilson publicly stated his desire for the Seahawks to improve their pass protection.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Bruce Arians won’t retire even with Super Bowl win

Even if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers win it all in Super Bowl LV, coach Bruce Arians stated there is no way he will consider retirement, despite already having retired once, after the 2017 season with the Arizona Cardinals.

“Hell no. I’m going for two,” Arians told 95.3 WDAE on Wednesday morning. “There’s no doubt. If the Glazers will have me back, I’ll be back.”

Arians has a five-year contract, but when he took the Buccaneers job during the 2019 offseason, many close to the 68-year-old coach questioned whether he would make it through the duration of his deal. Some had suggested he would coach three years before retiring for good.

But son Jake Arians told ESPN, “He’s having the time of his life.” Bruce Arians has dealt with several health issues over the past 15 years. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2007, had skin cancer cells removed from his nose in 2013, and has been rushed to the hospital — in August 2016 thinking he had a kidney stone and in November 2016 with chest pains.

He was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma, a type of cancer affecting the kidneys, and had to have part of his kidney removed in 2017.

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But being able to delegate more has lowered his stress levels. Offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich has handled playcalling duties during Arians’ entire time in Tampa Bay, whereas Arians called plays himself in Arizona. He continues to get checkups and has had a clean bill of health.

He still has his sense of humor, which helps too.

Asked what he would have said if general manager Jason Licht had told him prior to his joining the team in 2019 that the Buccaneers would be in the Super Bowl in two years and would have Tom Brady as their quarterback, Arians said, “What are you smoking or drinking? And get me some.”

Arians did, however, express disappointment about Leftwich not getting any head-coaching interviews. Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles interviewed with the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles and had some preliminary discussions with the Detroit Lions, though both sides decided it was best to cancel the interview.

“That really pissed me off, I’ll be honest with ya,” Arians said of Leftwich not getting interviews. “The job he’s done — he coaches quarterbacks, he calls plays, he’s everything everybody says they’re looking for — I was really hoping he’d get his first few interviews and maybe get a job out of it. But I can’t speak to what the owners think and who they listen to sometimes. But it’s just a matter of time before he gets his.”

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New York Giants QB Daniel Jones has second leg injury

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones is dealing with a second “lower leg issue” coming out of Sunday’s loss to the Arizona Cardinals, coach Joe Judge stated Wednesday.

Jones confirmed Wednesday afternoon it was a low ankle sprain and that it was “sore.” This is in addition to the right hamstring strain that limited his ability to run, resulting in six sacks in the 26-7 loss, and forced him to miss the previous week’s game.

“There really is nothing worse for the wear with the previous injury,” Judge said as the Giants returned to practice. “He did come out with some bumps and bruises. There is another lower leg issue we’re dealing with right now. We’re going to go ahead and move him around at practice and see where he’s at.”

Judge said no decision has been made about whether his starting quarterback will be able to play Sunday night versus the Cleveland Browns. Jones, with a propensity to downplay injuries, said the hamstring feels good and overall he “felt good” during Wednesday’s practice.

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Colt McCoy, who saw an increase in practice reps with Jones listed as a limited participant in practice, would start if Jones can’t play.

“I’m going to give him the opportunity this week to work through practice, see how he moves and how he reacts to things,” Judge stated. “… If he’s not at risk beyond any normal game, then we’ll go ahead and give him the chance to play. If we think that is an issue, that he can’t go out there and defend himself, then we’ll make then best decision for him long term and the team as well.”

Jones looked hampered during Wednesday’s open portion of practice. He backpedaled gingerly while the team warmed up and stretched, and he hobbled at times during individual drills.

His back leg even jolted a couple times after making short throws.

McCoy, who started in Jones’ place in a 17-12 win over the Seattle Seahawks, took more reps than usual at Wednesday’s practice. McCoy was behind center for the first snap with the first-team offense, which is generally a decent indication of who starts at quarterback that week.

Jones was 11-of-21 for 127 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions and a lost fumble against Arizona. The second-year quarterback did not have a rushing attempt for the first time in his career.

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Arizona Cardinals win on OT field goal to knock Seattle Seahawks from ranks of unbeaten

Of all the players to lead the Arizona Cardinals to an overtime victory over the Seattle Seahawks, it was one of the most unlikely.

Rookie linebacker Isaiah Simmons intercepted Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson with 1:04 left in overtime on his fourth snap of the match. He didn’t play in the first half.

That led to Cardinals kicker Zane Gonzalez redeeming himself after missing the game-winning field goal earlier in overtime, making a 48-yard kick with 20 seconds left in the extra period to give Arizona a 37-34 win while handing the Seahawks their first loss of the campaign.

Arizona improved to 5-2, holding onto second place in the NFC West with the Los Angeles Rams playing Monday night. Coach Kliff Kingsbury nearly cost the Cardinals the game earlier in overtime, when he iced Gonzalez with 2:47 left on second-and-15. Gonzalez made the initial kick but it didn’t count, then he missed the next one.

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Then came Simmons’ pick.

It was just another typical Cardinals-Seahawks game — full of drama, twists and turns.

Both teams combined for 1,091 yards — 572 by Seattle and 519 by Arizona.

Kyler Murray threw for 360 yards, three touchdowns and an interception on 34-for-48 passing. He also had 67 rushing yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.

DeAndre Hopkins had 10 catches for 103 yards and a touchdown. Running back Chase Edmonds, who had two of the biggest plays in overtime, caught all seven of his targets for 87 yards. Larry Fitzgerald had 62 yards while catching all eight of his targets.

The match was moved to Sunday night amid concerns the Bucs-Raiders game might have to be postponed due to a positive coronavirus test on the Raiders and additional players being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list due to contact tracing.

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Cardinals re-sign cornerback Kevin Peterson to 1 year deal

The Cardinals have filled out their roster by bringing back many of their own free agents this offseason despite letting them reach the open market – and they did it again Tuesday, re-signing reserve cornerback Kevin Peterson to a one-year deal.

Peterson played in 14 matches, starting three, for the Cardinals in 2019. He had 16 tackles and two passes defensed, as well as six tackles on special teams. To make room on the roster, the Cardinals released cornerback Andre Chachere.

The Cardinals will have essentially their entire secondary returning. They didn’t spend a draft pick at either cornerback or safety. Veterans Patrick Peterson and Robert Alford are likely to be the starters outside, with Byron Murphy in the slot.

At safety, they have Pro Bowler Budda Baker and second-year man Jalen Thompson. Kevin Peterson and Chris Jones would be the top reserves at cornerback right now, with Deionte Thompson and Chris Banjo the top safety reserves.

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Patrick Peterson (suspension) missed the first six games last campaign, and Alford was out the whole year with a broken leg.

“Having Patrick back Week One and having Robert back healthy Week One that’s going to help us,” defensive coordinator Vance Joseph stated after the draft. “It was really tough on our young guys and our reserve corners to go out there against some good teams early. I thought Budda Baker had a hell of a year last year … He has room to grown. I thought Jalen Thompson the last month of the season played really good football. As the defense played better, I thought he played better.

“We had a young secondary, with (Byron) Murphy playing the most snaps of any defensive back in the league. It’ll pay dividends. I’m looking forward to those young guys taking huge steps.”

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D.J Humphries to re-sign with Cardinals for 3 years

The Arizona Cardinals reportedly are hanging on to 2015 first-round pick D.J. Humphries. 

According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, the 26-year-old offensive tackle has agreed to a three-year, $45 million contract with $29 million guaranteed and $30 million to be paid over the first two years.

Humphries was set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Cardinals general manager Steve Keim hinted that a deal was imminent on last Friday while appearing on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM (h/t Cards Wire’s Jess Root): “I would just say that I’m very optimistic that D.J. will return.”

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In December, Kyle Odegard of the team’s official website relayed that Humphries was Pro Football Focus’ 23rd-best player at his position with a minimum of 500 snaps. 

The Cardinals ended 2019 at 5-10-1, but there is reason for optimism in the near future with 2019 No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray at quarterback—especially with Humphries locked in to continue protecting him.

Humphries will also play a large role in Arizona solidifying its identity on the ground after finishing as the 10th-best rushing offense last campaign.

“I’d like to continue to be a physical run team,” Kingsbury told ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss last week. “I think when you can mix in the quarterback having his 40, 50 [yards]—we’re never going to run him 20, 25 times—but guys are playing at a physical level on the perimeter, up front, and it’s paying off.”

Humphries is coming off his regular season in which he appeared in all 16 matches. The Florida product didn’t play during his 2015 rookie campaign before playing 13 games in 2016 and being limited to five in 2017 and nine in 2018 with persistent injuries. Humphries made $9.63 million last year in his option season.

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Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald back for 17th season

The Arizona Cardinals informed the receiver will return in 2020 for his 17th pro season, signing Fitzgerald to a one-year contract. He had been set to become a free agent.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reports Fitzgerald’s deal is worth $11 million with incentives, per sources informed of the contract.

Fitzgerald’s future has been the subject of speculation each season of the past couple of years. Yet the 36-year-old continues to produce.

Fitzgerald snagged 75 receptions for 804 yards and four touchdowns in 2019, all team highs.

Even as things seem to change often in Arizona, Fitzgerald’s production still as steady as a rock.

The veteran’s ability to get open on quick routes meshes well with Kliff Kingsbury’s offense and Kyler Murray’s lightning-fast release. Perhaps Fitzgerald will no longer burn past receivers, but he still owns the route-running ability to box out defenders and vice-grip hands to snag pigskins in close quarters.

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While the Cardinals hope someday soon one of their young guns overtakes Fitzgerald as a true No. 1 target, Kingsbury understands the vital role the veteran plays for his offense to move the chains consistently.

“I think he’s playing as good as anybody, honestly,” Kingsbury said at the close of the season. “You watch what he does week-in and week-out, the little things, the blocking and the toughness that he brings to the offensive side of the football. We missed him twice for huge plays yesterday. He’s just still creating separation. He does it all.”

The 11-time Pro Bowler and former Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year sits No. 1 in Cardinals history in catches (1,378), receiving yards (17,083) and receiving TDs (120). Fitzgerald trails only Jerry Rice in NFL history in catches and receiving yards.

The Cardinals wideout needs 171 receptions and 5,812 yards to tie Rice. It would take a few more campaigns to come close to those numbers, but Fitzy is at least inching closer to records that once seemed outlandish for any wideout to get near.

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RB Chris Carson´s hip injury might end his season

Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson suffered a hip injury in the second quarter of Sunday’s game versus the Arizona Cardinals, and his playing status for the rest of the season is now in jeopardy.

After the 27-13 loss, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll confirmed Carson will miss Week 17’s pivotal clash versus the San Francisco 49ers. Carson underwent additional testing, and team doctors informed Carroll the injury appeared to be season-ending, per ESPN’s Brady Henderson. Carson had eight carries for 40 yards before exiting. 

Carson took over as the starting running back in 2018 and proceeded to run for 1,151 yards and nine touchdowns in 14 games. He ended 12th in DYAR (defense-adjusted yards above replacement) among running backs with at least 100 carries, per Football Outsiders.

Through 14 matches in 2019, Carson had 1,190 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground.

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Outside of selecting DK Metcalf in the second round of the draft, the Seahawks did little to upgrade the offense, largely due to the fact they didn’t have much salary-cap space with which to make significant additions.

Seattle also lost Mike Davis, the team’s second-leading rusher during last season, after he signed a two-year, $6 million deal with the Chicago Bears.

Carson’s injury comes two weeks after Rashaad Penny suffered a season-ending torn ACL.

C.J. Prosise injured his arm Sunday night as well and will miss Week 17, leaving rookie Travis Homer as the last active option. 

Carroll was asked how the Seahawks will rally, given all the attrition.

“We are going to figure out a way,” he said. “We are going to use all of the same tools that we use all the time mentally to make sure we can be disciplined about it and turn the focus on the next challenge. Our guys do a remarkable job of doing that. So people who question their ability to do it can’t believe when we do it. We’ll try to show you and prove it.

“The 49ers look awesome. They’re playing great football. They had a great win last week. It will be as great of a test as we could play. I’m disappointed we didn’t go into [the 49ers game] with momentum, but we’re going to re-create it here during the week.”

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49ers overcome 16-point deficit to defeat Cardinals

Banged up and shorthanded, the 49ers rallied back from a 16-point first-quarter deficit Sunday to defeat a hot Cardinals start for a 36-26 Week 11 win.

Jimmy Garoppolo once again enjoyed success in the passing game versus Arizona, but, as he did in San Francisco’s first loss last week, suffered costly turnovers.

Without the likes of Joe Staley, George Kittle, Ronald Blair, D.J. Jones, Robbie Gould and Matt Breida, the 49ers (9-1) limped into Sunday’s matchup coming off a heartbreaking defeat on Monday night.

Two weeks ago, Kyle Murray and his then newly-acquired running back Kenyan Drake picked apart the 49ers defense.

Ahkello Witherspoon made his return to game action for the first time since Week 3. Kyle Shanahan said that Witherspoon would get his starting job back from Emmanuel Moseley once healthy enough to take on a full week of practice. The 49ers’ first drive on defense featured Moseley starting over Witherspoon.

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Dwelley had a great game Sunday, with the absence of Pro Bowl tight end Kittle. Dwelley is not on the same level as Kittle, but there was one similarity: Touchdown receptions called back due to penalties.

Down 16-10, the 49ers got the ball to start the third quarter. Garoppolo found Dwelley to end a six-play, 84-yard drive and the 49ers had suddenly taken a 17-16 lead after half time.

After the thrilling come-from-behind victory, Shanahan discussed how he felt about this game, and how it felt similar to last weeks loss to Seattle.

“I mean, a lot of ups and downs. There were definitely some good things and then there were some really bad things. It actually reminded me a lot of Monday night, where there were some things where we got really excited about, and then it felt like we blew it a number of times, to where we get crushed. The guys are just resilient, just kept coming, and we were able to finish it off the right way, unlike last week. Two similar games like that, by no means was it perfect, but I was really proud of the guys for how they just kept fighting and found a way to get it done.”

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David Johnson not ready to play Thursday

Although he had been listed as questionable throughout the week, an Arizona Cardinal is reportedly out for the team’s Thursday night matchup with the San Francisco 49ers.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Thursday, Cardinals starting running back David Johnson is not estimated to play.

The report coincides with an earlier one last Saturday that said Johnson would not only miss the Week 8 matchup versus the New Orleans Saints, but the team’s home game versus San Francisco as well.

This will be Johnson’s second consecutive game missed as the running back has dealt with ankle and back injuries throughout most of the season. In seven games, he’s recorded 300 yards and two scores on 77 rushing attempts, while catching 30 of his 41 targets for 315 yards and three touchdowns.

Johnson leads the team in rushing yards and attempts and only trails backup Chase Edmonds in scores (4).

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With Edmonds already officially ruled out, that leaves a running back room consisted of newly acquired Kenyan Drake, who came over in a trade on Wednesday, and Alfred Morris and Zach Zenner, two running backs signed a little over a week ago.

Before going down with a hamstring injury, Edmonds was enjoying his best season as a pro, rushing for 295 yards and four touchdowns on just 58 carries. He also caught 12 balls for 105 yards and a TD.

In Edmonds and Johnson’s absence, Drake would most likely be the one to carry the load. The former Miami Dolphin rushed for 174 yards on 47 carries in six games (two starts) played this season and added another 174 yards on 22 receptions. In his career, Drake’s ran the rock 333 times for 1,532 yards and nine scores, while catching 116 receptions for 936 yards and six touchdowns.

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