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Antoine Bethea Done For The Season

Posted Dec 26, 2017

Pectoral tear will shelve the veteran safety for the Cardinals' finale in Seattle

Cardinals safety Antoine Bethea celebrates after the first of his two interceptions on Sunday.

Antoine Bethea set a career-high with his fifth interception of the season on Sunday against the Giants, but that’s where the total will remain.

The Cardinals’ safety tore a pectoral muscle in the 23-0 win and won’t play in the regular season finale against the Seahawks. Bethea picked off Eli Manning twice in the contest, his first career multi-interception game.

Bethea was a steady presence in the secondary this season, leading the team in interceptions while mentoring rising star Budda Baker. Harlan Miller is expected to be the third safety in nickel packages alongside Baker and Tyrann Mathieu. Cornerback Justin Bethel could also get work in personnel groups that include five or six defensive backs.

“We’ve got plenty of guys,” Arians said. “Taking five interceptions out of there is tough, though. Great season.”

Bethea was placed on injured reserve Tuesday and linebacker Edmond Robinson was elevated from the practice squad in a corresponding move. Bethea is the third safety to be lost for the year, joining Tyvon Branch and Rudy Ford, and is the latest casualty in a season dominated by injuries. At this point, Arians said it’s become so commonplace that the team shrugs it off.

“It’s easy when you get the fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth injuries,” Arians said. “It’s really hard when you get the first four. It’s like, ‘Oh, here we go again.’ It’s doom and gloom around the team for a week or so. Now it’s just, ‘OK, who is it this week?’ You pick up the pieces and you go.”

Miller is a former cornerback who was pressed into emergency duty at safety last season when Tony Jefferson was injured in Week 16 in Seattle. Miller moved to safety this offseason because of his performance in that game and the season finale against the Rams, where he had an interception. Miller has been on the practice squad most of the year but Arians expressed confidence in him.

“He played up there last year and did a good job,” Arians said.

Bethea, 33, signed a three-year free agent contract with the Cardinals this offseason and Arians believes he has plenty left in the tank.

“‘Toine is still young, and he stays in great shape,” Arians said. “He should have another great year next year.”

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