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- The Arizona Cardinals claimed former New England Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard off waivers on /4/6.
The Arizona Cardinals claimed former New England Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard off waivers on /4/6.
The Arizona Cardinals have claimed Alfonzo Dennard off waivers.
Darren Urban of the Cardinals’ official website confirmed Dennard’s acquisition after the New England Patriots released him on /4/6. Despite Arizona head coach Bruce Arians declaring the team is “extremely comfortable” at cornerback even after the departure of Antonio Cromartie, the team decided to shore up that position this week.
Cromartie signed with the New York Jets as a free agent two months ago, per ESPN.
Urban stresses the Cardinals are looking at starting Patrick Peterson and Jerraud Powers at cornerback for the upcoming 2015 NFL season. Justin Bethel would most likely be the third cornerback.
Arians told AZCardinals.com after last week’s 2015 NFL draft he is confident this group will deliver as promised:
“Jerraud Powers played as well, maybe better than Cro the year before. Cro played very well for us last year and allowed us to play J.P. inside, but I’ve got all the confidence in the world. I think Justin Bethel is ready to break out and allow J.P. to go back inside when we go into the nickel. We have so much flexibility there.
“We’ve got a couple of guys who we really, really like that are undrafted free agents and we also picked up a couple of guys with some length that I’m anxious to get out on the field and look at them. I’m not concerned with the depth whatsoever.”
According to ESPN, Dennard is now the Cardinals’ 11th cornerback “heading into organized team activities /4/19.”
The Patriots drafted the 25-year-old Dennard in the seventh round out of the University of Nebraska three years ago. He didn’t see much action in 2014, appearing in just six games and recording a solitary interception.
New England eventually placed him on season-ending injury reserve in Dec. 2014. The team cut him despite losing cornerbacks Darrelle Revis to the New York Jets and Brandon Browner to the New Orleans Saints, per ESPN.
Dennard’s draft stock plummeted after he was convicted of felony assault on a policeman outside a Lincoln, Ne. bar in 2012. A year later, he was arrested for driving under the influence, a violation of his probation stemming from the bar incident, per ESPN.
He served 35 of a possible 60 days in a Nebraska detention center last year as a result, the ESPN update goes on to say.
Dennard had amassed five interceptions and 90 tackles in 29 regular-season games for the Patriots. He also added two interceptions in four postseason games with New England, per ESPN.
In another team development, Cardinals tight end John Carlson retired two days before the team acquired Dennard, per a separate update from Urban.
Carlson was entering his eighth year in the NFL and his second with Arizona when he decided to retire. In a statement Urban obtained, Carlson did not specify the exact reason why:
“After much thought and consideration, my wife Danielle and I know that this is the best decision for us.
“I was blessed to play seven seasons in the NFL for three tremendous organizations — the Cardinals, (Minnesota) Vikings and (Seattle) Seahawks. I will always treasure the experiences and relationships made during that time but I’m also very excited about the next phase of my life and what’s ahead.”
Urban stresses Carlson’s retirement further depletes a Cardinals tight end corps which features Jermaine Gresham and Zach Miller, two veterans who have extensive injury histories.
With that, Darren Fells and second-year man Troy Niklas are expected to see more minutes at the tight end spot.
Niklas told Urban on Tuesday he and his teammates did not expect Carlson to retire, but at the same time gave him credit for his continued development:
“I don’t know if it’s really hit me yet. None of us really saw it coming. We’re just going to miss him. Personally, he’s helped me so much, learning the offense.
“He’s been a great teammate and mentor-like, helping me get into the NFL. I was looking forward to playing with him again this season.”
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