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Cardinals Release Eno Benjamin

Running back had been top backup this season

The Cardinals have released running back Eno Benjamin.
The Cardinals have released running back Eno Benjamin.

The Cardinals, in a surprising move, released running back Eno Benjamin on Monday.

The move was announced after coach Kliff Kingsbury met with the media. Kingsbury is expected to speak again Wednesday.

Benjamin had been the starter when James Conner was out with a ribs injury, gaining 92 yards rushing against the Saints in the best game of his career. The Cardinals also have two running backs -- Darrel Williams and Jonathan Ward -- on Injured Reserve at the moment.

The only two backs on the roster are Conner and Keaontay Ingram, although veterans Corey Clement and Ty'Son Williams are on the practice squad.

Benjamin had a bumpy start to his career after arriving as a seventh-round pick in 2020 from Arizona State. Coach Kliff Kingsbury acknowledged Benjamin was essentially in his doghouse early on. But the coach repeatedly talked about the maturation and work ethic of the running back this past offseason and why he had grown as a player.

That showed on the field when Benjamin was the top reserve despite the Cardinals signing the experienced Darrel Williams. Benjamin had 299 yards rushing on 70 attempts and two touchdowns this season, with 24 receptions for another 184 yards.

Benjamin played just one snap on Sunday in Los Angeles while Conner played 65 of 66. Asked about that disparity, Kingsbury said it was about Conner rather than Benjamin.

"We talked about James getting the full share," Kingsbury said. "He'd been banged up, had the ribs, and it was one of those deals where it was time to give him the starting running back reps. Thought he played at a high level, allowed him to get in a rhythm and did what we needed him to do."

UPDATE: Benjamin was claimed on waivers by the Texans.