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Name Matters To Deone Bucannon

Posted Aug 30, 2016

John Brown, Mathieu cleared to play; Canaday ready to be long-term long snapper

Cardinals moneybacker Deone Bucannon watches the end of his team's game in Houston last weekend.

Deone Bucannon turned 24 Wednesday, and as a gift teammate Tony Jefferson grabbed a microphone from a local TV station and conducted an interview.

Bucannon had a hard time not cracking up – but then again, Jefferson was smart enough not to ask him about being a linebacker. Because Bucannon does not like that. Not at all.

“I'm a rover,” Bucannon said. “Rover is my position. Moneybacker. I don't consider myself a linebacker at all.”

Bucannon, who has become one of the key pieces of the defense and whose “position” has spawned copycats around the NFL, has a point because of his spot’s hybrid nature. It’s gotten to the point where the Cardinals officially list him as “$LB” on the roster. And while Bucannon came into the league as a safety and wanting to be called that even though he clearly wasn’t that either, he now reacts strongly to anyone putting a traditional label on him.

“When someone tries to put me in one category, I want to let them know what I really am,” Bucannon said. “It’s a personal thing. I mean, I don’t get mad about it, but I’ll correct them, “Nah, I’m not that, I’m not that.” I’m whatever you want to call it, rover, moneybacker, but I love the position.”

The Cardinals took Bucannon to be a safety. The move was done to get Bucannon on the field, and became more important when Daryl Washington was suspended.

“Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good,” General Manager Steve Keim said. “My thing with him, it was just whatever position he was going to play for us, I just knew he was going to have that mentality where he was going to run through a wall for you.”

That Bucannon will most certainly do, putting up Pro Bowl-type numbers at a spot that doesn’t really have a Pro Bowl outlet.

“I want my own title,” Bucannon said. “I feel like they made this whole new position. It’s something different and I’m thankful.”

BROWN AND MATHIEU CLEARED, BETHEL HAS SORE FOOT

Coach Bruce Arians said that wide receiver John Brown (concussion) and safety Tyrann Mathieu (knee) have both been officially cleared to play. Whether or not they will appear in the preseason finale against the Broncos is “wait and see.” But both practice well, Arians said.

The same can’t be said for cornerback Justin Bethel, who is dealing with a sore foot. His status for Thursday is to be determined, but Arians reiterated that Bethel – who had to play with a sore foot last season – will have to do the same this season.

Linebacker Alex Okafor (biceps) is “good to go,” Arians said, but defensive tackle Ed Stinson (core) will get an MRI after missing the last couple of weeks.

CANADAY SET AT LONG SNAPPER

Undrafted rookie Kam Canaday officially won the long-snapping job this week when fellow rookie Daniel Dillon was cut.

“It’s a great opportunity and I’m proud to represent the Cardinals and I’m going to do my best to snap for them for quite a while,” said Canaday, who takes over the retired Mike Leach.

Canaday is just the Cardinals’ fourth long snapper since 1996, following Trey Junkin, Nate Hodel and Leach. The decision follows an offseason in which special teams coordinator Amos Jones made sure Canaday and Dillon roomed together. The two became close friends.

“Danny is a great guy, a phenomenal long snapper and he brought the best out of me on the field,” Canaday said. “We’ll stay in touch and I’m sure he’s going to get a job. He’s a great long snapper.”

CARDINALS REACH 75-MAN ROSTER LIMIT

Needing to make two moves to get down to the 75-man roster limit Tuesday, the Cardinals came to an injury settlement with cornerback Alan Ball (quad) and released him, and put fellow cornerback Elie Bouka (leg) on injured reserve.

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