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John Brown Hopes For Turnaround

Notes: Free agency beckoning for injury-plagued WR; Pro Bowl calls; Injuries aplenty

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Cardinals wide receiver John Brown has been out with a turf toe injury since the Texans game.


John Brown spoke haltingly on Wednesday, which wasn't a big surprise for a player in his situation.

It was only two years ago the Cardinals' receiver looked like a game-breaker, as he followed up an impressive rookie campaign with a 1,000-yard season in 2015. Since then, injuries, not production, have dominated the conversation.

Brown is heading into unrestricted free agency for the first time this offseason, but has registered only 19 catches for 271 yards and two touchdowns in eight games.

He has been slowed by an assortment of injuries, the most recent of which – turf toe – has kept him sidelined since Week 11. Brown practiced Wednesday and said he will play on Sunday against the Giants. For a player whose future is muddled, these last two weeks could be critical.

"I'm just hoping I can get out there and put some good stuff on film," Brown said.

Coach Bruce Arians knows the injuries and lack of production have taken their toll on Brown. He said finding some late-season success could be a huge benefit psychologically.

"To be able to get out there and hopefully catch a touchdown or do something, I think it would do wonders for him," Arians said.

Brown's dropoff is something no impending free agent wants to experience, but he is matter-of-fact about the injuries that have sidetracked a burgeoning career.

"It's life," Brown said. "That's what I've got to deal with. I can't put anything on it, so I just deal with it how it comes."

THE PRO BOWL CALLS

Budda Baker and Chandler Jones had a feeling they were making the Pro Bowl this year, but neither knew how the news would be delivered. Team president Michael Bidwill made the special call to both on Tuesday prior to the official announcement.

"It was a blocked call," Baker said. "I didn't really know who it was. He was like, 'This is Mr. Bidwill here.' So that was cool."

Jones, the NFL sack leader, was hit with a rush of excitement when Bidwill relayed the information.

"I did a little dance," Jones said. "There is actually some footage. My girlfriend was recording when I was on the phone."

Baker earned the Pro Bowl nod as a rookie for his special teams prowess. It was a phase of the game he hadn't played since his freshman year at Washington, but one he acclimated to quickly. Baker has been impressive in punt and kickoff coverage, and had a recovery on a kickoff Sunday against the Redskins.

"We knew he was going to be a hell of a safety, but we knew he could help us right away (on special teams)," Arians said.

INJURIES KEEP PILING UP

Before Arians rattled off the players who didn't practice on Wednesday, he issued a warning to the media.

"You'll need your tape recorders for this one," he said. "You can't write that fast."

A dozen players missed practice, with some of them in doubt for Sunday. Safety Antoine Bethea (knee), linebacker Josh Bynes (ankle), linebacker Karlos Dansby (knee), linebacker Gabe Martin (hamstring), tight end Troy Niklas (ankle), defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche (wrist), defensive lineman Olsen Pierre (illness), guard Earl Watford (ankle), wideout Chad Williams (illness) and running back Kerwynn Williams (quadriceps/ribs) all sat out.

There were so many players missing that Arians said the second half of the practice was a walk-through.

Those limited were Brown, tight end Jermaine Gresham (illness), defensive lineman Corey Peters (ankle) and tackle John Wetzel (knee).

For the Giants, safety Landon Collins (ankle), linebacker B.J. Goodson (ankle), wideout Tavarres King (concussion) and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (finger) didn't practice. Those limited were safety Nat Berhe (hamstring), cornerback Brandon Dixon (heel/hamstring), center Brett Jones (ankle) and safety Darian Thompson (knee).

Images of the four players who were named to the Pro Bowl on Tuesday



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