The Cardinals released running back Andre Ellington Monday.
Andre Ellington was a surprise healthy scratch Sunday in Houston. The next day, he was a surprise cut.
The Cardinals released the veteran running back Monday, perhaps a nod to the need to look toward the future at the position. D.J. Foster, signed earlier in the year and a back who plays essentially the same role, was active in Ellington’s place for the first time Sunday.
Foster figures to play Ellington’s third-down spot going forward. He had two catches for 26 yards against the Texans in nine offensive snaps.
The Cardinals did not make a corresponding move, so there is an opening on the 53-man roster. Coach Bruce Arians said the team had worked out a lot of potential players Monday – which the Cards
do on a weekly basis – and the team could be seeking another wide receiver.
The Cardinals did sign running back Bronson Hill to the practice squad.
The Ellington release brings to a close a tenure that started so strong but faded with time. Ellington, a 2013 sixth-round draft pick, burst out as a rookie and played well in his first two seasons, gaining 1,312 yards rushing on 319 carries and adding another 85 receptions for 766 yards.
He was the starter going into 2015, but got hurt in the opener. Chris Johnson stepped in to produce among the league’s leading rushers. When Chris Johnson got hurt later in the season, Ellington too was banged up, opening the door for then-rookie David Johnson.
He had a career-low 96 yards rushing in 2016 and became a free agent, but returned to the Cardinals on a one-year deal almost immediately. This season, Ellington had 53 yards rushing on 15 carries, scoring his lone touchdown against Seattle in what turned out to be his last game. Ellington also lost an important pass reception earlier in that game – it was later called an incompletion and not a fumble when he hit the ground without being touched.
Ellington remains the Cardinals’ second-leading receiver behind Larry Fitzgerald, with 33 catches this season for 297 yards. He had back-to-back nine-reception games earlier in the season, but his playing time had dwindled of late.