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Tramon Williams Had Eye On Cardinals

Posted Jul 31, 2017

Veteran cornerback wants to compete for starting role but called it "uphill battle"

New Cardinals cornerback Tramon Williams meets the media Monday after arriving in Arizona.

Tramon Williams had thought about playing for the Cardinals for a while.

The season ended in January, the veteran cornerback was released in early February and coming to the desert was already on his radar.

“This team has always been in my vision, always been in play for me,” he said Monday after signing a one-year contract. “When we got the call, it became reality.”

Williams will go through his first practice Tuesday, avoiding what coach Bruce Arians called a bad practice Monday – bad enough that an angry Arians made the players run wind sprints to finish up. He will join a cornerback group that has been beat up with injuries, and does not have a set No. 2 to start across from Pro Bowler Patrick Peterson.

Justin Bethel, currently sidelined with a hyperextended knee, is the top choice right now. Arians said Bethel will return to practice next week. Ronald Zamort, who had been on the first team with Bethel down, tore his ACL Saturday.

“(Tramon) has got a pro resume, and he’s been an outstanding player for a long time,” Arians said. “He can play outside, inside. Very smart.”

“I don’t think it’s a need. … You’re always looking for veteran players to plug in just in case.”

General Manager Steve Keim told Arizona Sports 98.7 Monday morning the Williams signing was not a “knee-jerk reaction” to Zamort’s injury.

“When camp starts, it’s my philosophy to start attacking the free-agent market of those players that went unsigned in the spring,” Keim said. “We liked what Tramon brought to the table in terms of leadership, what he brings to a locker room, the tape I watched of him.”

Williams is expected to battle Bethel for the starting job, but he wasn’t making any grand claims, calling his chance to start “an uphill battle.” But, Williams added, “I’m always looking to compete.”

Keim said Williams played safety last season with the Browns, which in Keim’s estimation was out of position.

Zamort was waived-injured Monday. Unless claimed by another team, he will revert to injured reserve. Elie Bouka (ankle) returned to individual work Monday. With Bethel out, Brandon Williams is running first team, and his backup is probably undrafted rookie Sojourn Shelton.

After Tramon Williams’ workout early last week, “I’ll just say they didn’t want me to leave the building,” Williams said. But he wanted to talk over a move to Arizona with his family first.

“Every year I look at this team as a piece or two away from winning it,” Williams said. “That’s what I saw.”

Asked if he could be that piece, Williams smiled. “I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t.”

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