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Cardinals Promote Antonio Hamilton From Practice Squad

Team adds veteran cornerback Quinton Dunbar among four to practice squad

Cornerback Antonio Hamilton screams in celebration after the Cardinals beat the Vikings earlier this month.
Cornerback Antonio Hamilton screams in celebration after the Cardinals beat the Vikings earlier this month.

It became clear when the season began that Antonio Hamilton Sr. may have started on the practice squad, but at some point, he was going to end up on the 53-man roster.

That day was Wednesday, when Hamilton -- who had been elevated from the practice squad in each of the first three games, twice standard and once as a Covid replacement -- was promoted to the roster.

To make room, the Cardinals put safety Charles Washington (hamstring) on injured reserve.

The Cardinals, still seeking cornerback depth, are also adding veteran Quinton Dunbar -- who has been with Washington, the Seahawks and the Lions -- to the practice squad. Also signed to the practice squad were three offensive linemen Danny Isidora, Michal Menet and Shaq Calhoun -- the latter two returning to the team after being in Arizona throughout camp and the preseason.

The team released cornerback Mazzi Wilkins from the practice squad.

Hamilton has morphed into the Cards' fourth cornerback, playing significant snaps in Week Two after starter Marco Wilson suffered an ankle injury. In Jacksonville, Wilson was back, and the top trio of he, Byron Murphy and Robert Alford ate up all the snaps.

But another reason Hamilton has turned into a key asset is his work on special teams. All 21 of his snaps in Jacksonville came in the transition game -- he was the player who recovered Rondale Moore's funky muffed punt -- while he had 13 against the Vikings (cut down because he had to play 31 defensive snaps) and 17 (with three defensive snaps) in the opener at Tennessee.

Washington is also a key special teams player, and his loss will be felt. Hamilton needed to be promoted because practice squad players can only have two standard elevations in a season.

"(Hamilton) made three or four very quiet big plays in that game (against Minnesota)," defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said. "He's a veteran guy and he's been intentional in his learning of our defense and he's been great for Jeff (Rodgers) on special teams."

Dunbar may eventually make it on to the roster himself. He finished last season on IR with Seattle after needing knee surgery. He was with the Lions in the offseason and the early part of training camp before being released. He has 10 career interceptions since coming into the league in 2015.