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Cardinals Put RB Coach James Saxon On Administrative Leave

Notes: Wesley might need procedure, Kyler Murray may be back Saturday

Running backs coach James Saxon has been placed on administrative leave.
Running backs coach James Saxon has been placed on administrative leave.

Coach Kliff Kingsbury said Friday that running backs coach James Saxon has been placed on administrative leave.

The move comes a day after news broke that Saxon was facing domestic battery charges. Kingsbury said the team was aware when the incident occurred back in late May.

Kingsbury said offensive assistants Donald Shumpert and Kenny Bell will coach the running backs during Saxon's absence.

Saxon is in his fourth year as the Cardinals' running back coach and 22nd in the league.

"We are aware of the incident and notified the NFL as required," the Cardinals said in a statement. "The matter is currently under review pursuant to league policies. After consultation with the league office, James has been placed on paid administrative leave. We will have no further comment pending additional proceedings."

Linebacker Dennis Gardeck said the team has remained focused on football despite multiple distractions during training camp, and Kingsbury said he looks at the leaders in the locker room to keep everyone mentally sharp.

"You never want distractions when you're trying to build a team," Kingsbury said. "But we've definitely had that. Luckily, we have some great leaders. Guys who can compartmentalize things and continue to work to get better, but you'd like for them to focus on football moving forward. Hopefully, that's the case."


Antoine Wesley's status remains up in the air after he hurt his hip and groin going up for a catch in practice this week. Kingsbury said the team is waiting on the results from his MRI before determining the next step towards getting him back on the field.

"We're really waiting to see how he responds," Kingsbury said. "Then we'll know probably within the next week if he'll need some type of procedure or can rehab and get back to us fairly quickly."

With Wesley out, the Cardinals added veteran Marcell Ateman, who has 20 catches since coming into the league in 2018.

"He torched us at Texas Tech, so I got to see that up close and personal," Kingsbury said of the Oklahoma State product. "Great size, and did a great job picking up the offense."


The Cardinals' starting quarterback might be on his way back soon. Kingsbury said Kyler Murray could return on Saturday, the fifth day since he tested positive for Covid.

Although Murray cannot be with the team, he's still been active in quarterback meetings via Zoom. Kingsbury said he has talked with Murray and can tell the 24-year-old is eager to return to the field.

"He's (feeling) much better," Kingsbury said. "I know he's just tired of being by himself. He's a competitor, so he wants to be out there going against the defense, and helping the offense out. I'm hoping tomorrow he'll be around."