Terrell Suggs' homecoming didn't work out, as the veteran outside linebacker was released by the Cardinals on Friday.
The Arizona high school and college star signed with the team as a free agent in March and registered 5½ sacks and four forced fumbles this season, but his production and playing time dipped in recent weeks. Suggs, 37, did not register a tackle in the past two games.
"We'd been having conversations as the season went on, as his role has been reduced," Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said. "We kind of made the shift to playing some younger players, moved Haason (Reddick) out there (to outside linebacker). In fairness to him, to try to find a better fit right now, we released Terrell. I just have so much respect for him and what he brought, and wanted to give him that opportunity."
Kingsbury said the two sides mutually agreed that releasing Suggs and allowing him a chance to play elsewhere would be the best outcome. Suggs, who went to Chandler Hamilton High School and Arizona State, is a seven-time Pro Bowler who played the first 16 seasons of his career with the Ravens.
"The respect goes both ways," Kingsbury said. "We know what he's meant to this league, the Hall of Fame player he's been, so we wanted to have those conversations."
Reddick is expected to play "quite a bit" at outside linebacker on Sunday against the Browns after moving over from inside linebacker last week. Cassius Marsh is also expected to get an uptick in playing time.
"Everybody knows that on day one, the NFL, it's always business," Reddick said. "It's sad to see it happen. He's a great guy, a great teammate. Nothing but respect for Sizz."
Reddick was a defensive end in college but the Cardinals drafted him No. 13 overall in 2017 to play an off-ball linebacker role. The switch never took, and it's clear Reddick is happier to be back on the edge.
"I hope I can show these guys in the last couple of weeks that, hey, this guy can play outside 'backer," Reddick said. "We can use him to rush, and not only that, but be a guy that is used to dropping into coverage and can drop in coverage for us when we need him to. As far as being an outside 'backer, if I can show my value there, hopefully -- if I'm here next year, if I'm still around -- that's where I start off, at the outside 'backer position, and I can be effective from there."
Reddick played six snaps against Pittsburgh. In the second quarter, he nearly registered a sack, disrupting the play enough to force one of Duck Hodges' three incompletions in the game.
"I'm mad because I felt like he slipped through my grasp, and I really wanted to make a statement moving back to pass-rusher," Reddick said.
Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph has been pleased with the early returns from Reddick, and with Suggs' departure, he will have opportunities in the final three games to show his potential.
"So far, so good," Joseph said. "He's in a good place mentally. He's happy to be there. Obviously he's an explosive athlete. It takes time to learn the techniques of a rusher, but I think he has a chance to be a rusher."
PUGH QUESTIONABLE FOR BROWNS GAME
Left guard Justin Pugh (back) returned to practice on Friday and is questionable to play against Cleveland. Kingsbury said all of the Cardinals listed as questionable – Pugh, wideout Andy Isabella (shoulder), cornerback Kevin Peterson (shoulder) and linebacker Joe Walker (ribs) – should be available.
"I think they can go," Kingsbury said. "We'll see how they look on Sunday before the game, but I'm hopeful on those guys."
For the Browns, defensive end Olivier Vernon (knee) and defensive back Eric Murray (knee) won't play. Tackle Chris Hubbard (knee) and center J.C. Tretter (knee) are questionable.
WILSON SIGNED OFF PRACTICE SQUAD
Rookie tight end Caleb Wilson, the final pick in April's draft, was signed off the Cardinals' practice squad by Washington. The seventh-rounder had been on the practice squad all season.
Images from practice at the Dignity Health Arizona Cardinals Training Center