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Cardinals Get Budda Baker Back At Practice

Notes: Safety coming off hamstring injury; Gannon talks Sanders release

Safety Budda Baker (3) returned to practice Wednesday for the first time since before Week 2's game against the Giants.
Safety Budda Baker (3) returned to practice Wednesday for the first time since before Week 2's game against the Giants.

The heart and soul of the Cardinals defense is close to being back.

Safety Budda Baker had his 21-day practice window opened on Wednesday and will begin practicing again. This comes after he was placed on the injured reserve list, nursing a hamstring injury that he sustained ahead of the Week 2 matchup against the Giants.

"To be able to practice today is a huge boost for our team," coach Jonathan Gannon said. "We'll take it day-by-day with Budda."

Fellow safety Jalen Thompson also remains day-to-day according to Gannon. Having the opportunity to activate their captain to the 53-man roster, along with another starter, would be significant for the defense.

It's a unit that has had to fill the void of not only his talent, but leadership, throughout the defense.

"Budda is a special player and that's hard to replace, and it takes all weapons to replace what he brings to the table," defensive coordinator Nick Rallis said. "We've got to bring that type of energy that Budda plays with. All 11 guys out there."

In Baker's absence, safety K'Von Wallace has played nearly every snap. The Cardinals are 1-4 since Baker last played.


On Tuesday, Cardinals parted ways with second-year linebacker Myjai Sanders. Sanders injured his thumb during the first week of training camp and was designated to return from the injured reserve list last week.

With six outside linebackers on the roster, it was unlikely that Sanders would've received much playing time.

"It was the best thing for the team, truthfully, all decisions with rosters, moving parts, and all those things," Gannon said. "I feel good about the guys that we have in that room."


Last week, the Cardinals were awarded the waiver claim on running back Tony Jones Jr., but he was released on Wednesday.

Jones was inactive for both the Bengals and Rams games, while running back Damien Williams was elevated from the practice squad last week, finishing with eight carries against the Rams.

The move gives the Cardinals a second open roster spot, with three players -- Baker, quarterback Kyler Murray, and cornerback Garrett Williams -- in their return-to-roster window.