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David Johnson Ready To Answer "Question Mark"

Notes: Nkemdiche, Pierre return to practice; Adrian Peterson returns to Arizona

Running back David Johnson runs through the line during the Cardinals' preseason game against the Chargers last month.
Running back David Johnson runs through the line during the Cardinals' preseason game against the Chargers last month.

As David Johnson held court with the media Wednesday after practice, he kept glancing up at the television hanging off the ceiling right in his line of view – where some talking heads were discussing the absence of Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell.

Like Bell, Johnson craves a new contract. Like Bell, it hasn't left his mind. But unlike Bell, Johnson was at his locker and all smiles after the first main practice of the regular season, anxious to play Sunday and wipe out doubts anyone might have of his fitness.

"I think everyone has a question mark on me," said Johnson, who suffered a season-ending wrist injury in the 2017 season opener after his 2,000-plus rushing and receiving yards in 2016. "They don't know how good I'm going to be.

"I don't know, a lot of people probably overlook what I did in 2016."

Johnson has played little in the preseason but looked excellent when he did. Because of his brief appearances and the Cardinals' overall hesitancy to show much offensively, it's difficult to pinpoint exactly how he will be deployed by offensive coordinator Mike McCoy.

Chances are it will be early and often. Johnson certainly believes so, noting he was "glad I'm still be utilized as a receiver."

"We'll find out," quarterback Sam Bradford said. "David, he's one of the best offensive football players in the league, and we're going to look to use him in a number of ways."

As for his contract, which runs out after the season, Johnson reiterated he wants it done "as fast as possible" but that his agent will handle.

"It's a little bit of motivation, but there is so much other stuff – the injury and what I want to prove," Johnson said. "I'm definitely going to have (the contract) in the back of my head while I play, but like I said there's a lot of other stuff going on."


Defensive end Markus Golden (knee) was the only player held out of practice Wednesday. Defensive tackles Robert Nkemdiche (foot) and Olsen Pierre (toe) did return however, at least on a limited basis. So did running back T.J. Logan (ankle).

Defensive tackle Corey Peters (knee) and tight end Jermaine Gresham (Achilles) were also limited.

For Washington, wide receiver Maurice Harris (concussion) did not practice.


Adrian Peterson's brief tenure with the Cardinals came to an end in the spring when the Cards released him. After arriving in an early-season trade following Johnson's injury last season, Peterson rushed for 448 yards on 129 carries before his season was prematurely ended with a neck injury after just six games.

He was spectacular in his debut (134 yards against Tampa Bay) and he set a record for carries in San Francisco (159 yards on 37 carries), but the Cards moved on after he only averaged 3.5 yards a carry overall. Peterson did not find a job until Washington called late in the preseason, the Redskins also hammered by injuries at the running back position.

"Adrian is still a hard-nosed runner," Wilks said. "He's going to come in, ready to prove a point."

Peterson is expected to start for Washington, while many have speculated he doesn't have much left to perform at a high level.

"I'd be lying to say it doesn't (matter)," Peterson told Washington reporters Wednesday. "Anyone that's done anything has doubters. You always have some people give up on you. It motivates you."

Images of the Cardinals cheerleaders during the preseason finale against the Broncos