On Friday, the Arizona Cardinals announced the team has activated cornerback Robert Alford from the reserve/COVID-19 list. Alford was placed on the list last week and was set to miss the team's preseason finale in New Orleans prior to the cancellation of the game.
Alford appears to have a clean bill of health to begin the 2021 season, a luxury that was not seen in either of the previous two years. Alford suffered season-ending injuries in training camp each of the last two seasons, missing all of 2019 (broken leg) and 2020 (torn pec).
Now, Alford looks to play in his first game with Arizona after signing with the Cardinals in 2019. Alford registered 303 tackles, 85 pass deflections, 10 interceptions and three defensive touchdowns during his six years spent with the Atlanta Falcons.
His presence on the field is needed now more than ever. Cornerback Malcolm Butler was placed on the reserve/retired list this week after not appearing at the team's facility following the conclusion of training camp. Butler, who was signed in the offseason as a key veteran to lead a group of young defensive bacs, now leaves a clear gap in the secondary.
The Cardinals will need Alford to step up in big ways this season, especially knowing the potential he's flashed in training camp during previous years.
The team also announced the addition of seven players to the practice squad.
Linebacker Ron’Dell Carter, who was waived by Dallas on Tuesday. Wide receiver Josh Doctson had his contract terminated by the Jets on May 7 after opting out of the 2020 season. He hasn't played or practiced since November, 2019.
The team also signed cornerbacks Rasul Douglas and Antonio Hamilton. Douglas had his contract terminated by the Texans on Tuesday and was also in training camp with the Raiders.
Hamilton played for Kansas City in 2020, but signed as an unrestricted free agent with Tampa Bay. His contract was terminated by the Buccaneers Tuesday.
In the trenches, the Cardinals also signed defensive linemen Jeremiah Ledbetter (waived by Tampa Bay) and Jonathan Ledbetter (waived by Miami). The players are not believed to be related, if you can believe that.
Center/guard Michal Menet, a seventh-round pick this year by the Cardinals, is also now on the practice squad after he was waived Monday.
The Cardinals now have their full allotment of 17 practice-squad players, including tight end Bernhard Seikovits, who has an international exemption.