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Beanie Wells Wonders About Future

Running back believes exit from Cardinals "inevitable" after rough season


Running back Beanie Wells walks off the field Sunday after losing his fumble against the Bears.

For most the season the Cardinals relied on William Powell and LaRod Stephens-Howling to shoulder the burden at running back after injuries derailed visions of a stout thunder and lightning backfield, with Beanie Wells' power complementing Ryan Williams' speed.

But Wells never found the punishing form he had last season and was relegated to injured reserve for eight weeks while he recovered from turf toe, and Williams was shelved in October after shoulder surgery. When Wells returned after Thanksgiving, the spark the Cardinals were hoping for didn't accompany him.

"We knew coming in preseason with both Beanie and Ryan being nicked up that we were going to have to protect them in camp," coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "With a number of different injuries and guys getting banged up, that position hasn't been as productive or consistent for us this year and that's tough."

Sunday, Wells had a crucial fumble at his own 1-yard line, leading to the Bears' first touchdown in the Cardinals' 28-13 loss to Chicago. On Monday, Wells said he thinks his days as a Cardinal are numbered.

Wells said he hasn't had any formal discussions about his future in Arizona but feels his departure is "inevitable." When asked if he has any indication Sunday's game in San Francisco could be his last as a Cardinal, Wells referred to the last four seasons.

"Just how things have gone," he said.

Wells is under contract through 2013. Whisenhunt said he's still confident in Wells. But Wells said he's thinking about the future.

"I'm auditioning for a job somewhere else," Wells said. "That's my mindset, you know. Just going out there, putting my best foot forward for all 31 other teams that's watching.

"It's a performance-based business and I don't know if I've done things up to our organization's standards here. Maybe it's a discussion we'll have later on."

The trio of Wells, Stephens-Howling and Powell struggled to get 29 yards in the Cardinals' 28-13 loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium.

The game didn't start on the right foot. Or the left one for that matter.

On the first play of the Cardinals' second possession, Wells had his fumble. Wells said Monday he ran into quarterback Ryan Lindley and tried to make a move midair but one foot went forward and then another backward, Wells explained. He landed on the ground without being hit as the ball rolled away.

"Just slipped all over the place," Wells said. "It was bad but I still should've held onto the ball."

Wells only had one more carry the rest of the game.

"If you have the ball, that's your responsibility," Whisenhunt said. "You can't turn it over. I don't care who you are. I don't care what position you play. In the NFL, if you turn the ball over, you're not going to play. That's the way it goes."


Whisenhunt said he hasn't yet chosen who will start at quarterback Sunday for the Cardinals. …

Whisenhunt said tight end Rob Housler, who hurt his shoulder Sunday, likely will not play against the 49ers.

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