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Healthy Andre Ellington Would Embrace RB

Understanding Cardinals likely to draft another runner, back prepared to rebound in 2015


Cardinals running back Andre Ellington works out in the team's new weight room this week.

Andre Ellington is healthy. He can also read.

The running back is aware of all the chatter that suggest the Cardinals could take a running back in the first round of the draft. With this possibility Ellington has no issue.

"It's whatever will better our team," Ellington said. "That's most important. No one is going to hate any decisions. I'm sure those guys will make the best decisions to help the team. We'll accept any guy who comes in."

Coach Bruce Arians and General Manager Steve Keim have talked about bolstering the backfield and how deep the upcoming draft is for quality running backs. But Arians has also been steadfast in describing Ellington as a player the

offense can lean upon, saying Thursday "Andre looks really good" coming off his injuries.

"His touches should not come down," Arians said during the NFL owners meetings.

Keim praised the talent of Georgia's Todd Gurley and Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon during a Wednesday press conference, but the Cardinals taking a first-round running back would seem to go opposite of the philosophy Keim has operated under during his GM regime. That is only underscored by the depth of the running back class and the ability for teams to find good backs in the second and third rounds, if not later.

Ellington is ready for someone. He's also ready to move on from a season in which foot, hip and core injuries ultimately doomed him.

"Any injured guy, when they are fully healthy they want to get it started as quickly as possible," Ellington said. "Erase all those memories."

Ellington said his foot is fine and declared himself ready to return to regular work. While Arians said Ellington is still only about "95 percent," Ellington said he would be ready to take part in OTAs when they start next month.

"I'm back to normal," he said.

The hip and core problems were particularly frustrating, Ellington said, because it was just about the time he felt he had learned to cope just fine with his foot problems. Ellington did have 46 catches last season, up seven receptions despite playing three fewer games, but his per-rush average tumbled from 5.5 yards as a rookie to just 3.3 last season. His longest run was only 22 yards, a far cry from the home-run threat he established himself as during his rookie year.

Quarterback Drew Stanton called Ellington the "sparkplug" of the offense and the guy who could score a touchdown every time he touched the ball. Arians still believes Ellington's struggles last season came from the inability to practice because of the bad foot, which didn't allow him on the same page as the rest of the offense. That will change when he practices again.

Those are the notions that motivate him now, working out, and toward the season. The Cardinals will likely draft a running back and he would probably take some snaps from Ellington. But Ellington believes he is set up to return to his rookie ways, when he originally convinced the team what he could do on the field, even if he knows some doubt his potential as the go-to back.

"I sure some people (doubt), but that's kind of good," Ellington said. "I like that they forgot what I can do. It gives me a chance to show that what I did in the past is still there."

Images of running back Andre Ellington

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