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After Outside Interest, Tony Jefferson Returns

Former restricted free agent "stoked" to be back with Cardinals

Tony Jefferson looked right at home during the Cardinals' annual charity golf tournament on Wednesday morning.

Although the fourth-year safety didn't hit the links, he resumed his role as resident comedian, grabbing a microphone to grill teammates about anything from fashion to their golf game.

Jefferson's foray into restricted free agency ended on Monday when he signed a one-year qualifying offer, keeping him with the Cardinals in 2016. But home could have been somewhere else if his offseason went just a bit differently.

"I came close (to signing) with a few teams," said Jefferson, though the Cardinals had the option to match any offer sheet given. "We didn't really put stuff out there (publicly), but we came close with a few teams. At the same time, I'm stoked to be back here."

Jefferson was vocal about his desire to find a lucrative deal and a starting job in free agency but didn't want to sign any offer presented without weighing the pros and cons. A formal contract offer didn't materialize, and so he will return to a secondary where he is expected to be a key piece once again.

"It was crazy, but I'm stoked to be back," Jefferson said. "Who doesn't want to be back here? We have a shot to win a ring."

Jefferson will be an unrestricted free agent after this season.

"I've just got to keep balling, basically," Jefferson said. "Teams were interested, so I know that. I've just got to keep doing what I'm doing and get on the field as much as possible."

Jefferson is among a large contingent of Cardinals heading into the final year of their contract. Wide receiver Michael Floyd is another player who is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent 2017, but he said it won't affect him on the field.

"Same as always," Floyd said. "Just try to get better and do everything for this team to win. Because I think the more wins, the more individual things occur. That's what you want for everyone."

The Cardinals were happy to take a day off from football and enjoy their time on the golf course. The players and coaches joined sponsors for the outing at Whirlwind Golf Club where money was raised for Cardinals charities.

"It's all about having fun and raising awareness for the charities we support," quarterback Drew Stanton said. "With all of us and the way the community supports us, we want to try to support them."

Images from the Cardinals' annual charity golf tournament at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler

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