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Alfonso's Opportunity

Posted Aug 22, 2011

Notebook: Cards methodical in replacing Williams; Fitz contract numbers

Running back Alfonso Smith goes through drills Monday at practice.

FLAGSTAFF – Minor, nagging injuries cut into Alfonso Smith’s career at Kentucky, enough so that he didn’t finish college the way he had wanted.

“It was a hard time going through my senior year,” said Smith, the Cardinals’ newest addition to the running back mix. “I didn’t get the carries, I didn’t get a lot of pub, and that stuck with me. I have a chip on my shoulder. I am out here to prove it.”

Smith should get the chance. With rookie Ryan Williams out for the season after rupturing his patella tendon, Smith is the early entry into the replacement sweepstakes. The Cards did add a running back to the roster Monday, but it was undrafted rookie William Powell, who was with the Cards early in camp before being cut.  

Coach Ken Whisenhunt said the Cardinals will continue to look at who comes available. Any potential Williams replacement may still be on another team’s roster, with significant roster cuts coming after the next two preseason games.

“I don’t see a sense of panic at this particular time,” Whisenhunt said.

Williams had surgery Monday to repair his injury (and tweeted later he was eating at a Chinese restaurant with his mother). The hope is that Williams will be ready for training camp next year.

The Cards do need someone to step into the void, however, and Smith wants to be that guy.

“It stinks that Ryan had to get hurt, because he is like a brother to me,” Smith said. “I know I have a big opportunity in front of me.”

Smith called himself a straight-line runner, but he wants to try and become more well-rounded, given the circumstances. Quarterback Kevin Kolb gave Smith an endorsement Monday, saying Smith has “always looked great to me.”

“We all have great confidence in him,” Kolb added.

INTO THE HALF

Whisenhunt said some starters should play into the second half in Saturday’s third preseason game, others won’t. Veteran linebackers Joey Porter and Clark Haggans, for instance, likely would not. Kolb, on the other hand, probably will, getting a chance to run a two-minute drill and coming out after halftime.

“I won’t make a blanket statement,” Whisenhunt said.

FITZ'S CONTRACT

Andrew Brandt of the National Football Post (and former executive with the Packers) was able to acquire the details of Larry Fitzgerald’s new contract. Safe to say Fitz will be doing quite well.

Fitzgerald, who was scheduled to make $7 million this season, will now make $20 million all told in bonuses and salary. Next year, the Cards must give Fitzgerald a $15 million option bonus in March, plus another $5.25 million in salary. He will make another $5.25 million in salary in 2013, for a total of $45.5 million the first three years of the deal.

INJURY UPDATE

The Cardinals were down to two quarterbacks at practice Monday after Max Hall had to come out. Hall hurt what looked like his left shoulder when he got tripped up scrambling. Backup John Skelton (right ankle sprain) was already sitting out, leaving Rich Bartel and Kevin Kolb to take all the reps. An update on Hall is expected Tuesday.

Guard Floyd Womack (shoulder) and tight end Todd Heap (thumb) were back practicing after sitting out the Green Bay game. Tight end Stephen Spach (calf) and linebacker Brandon Sharpe (undisclosed) were sitting out.

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