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Levi Brown Ready To Return

Arians believes tackle coming back from injury is "elite" player


The Cardinals are counting on tackle Levi Brown (75) -- here before a preseason game last year with Sam Acho (94), Anthony Sherman (35), Andre Roberts (12) and Rashad Johnson (49) -- to anchor their offensive line in 2013.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to watch last year's offensive line performance and realize it wasn't good.

Injuries decimated continuity, lineups came and went, and rookies were baptized under fire. It was clear the Cardinals missed left tackle Levi Brown, who sat out the 2012 season with a left triceps injury.

Even Bruce Arians noticed it.

In addressing one of the Cardinals primary needs this offseason, the new head coach quickly realized the void Brown left last season and made him a centerpiece for the offensive line's plans in 2013.

"I think that we've got an elite player (in Brown) who was out," Arians said. "Once we put that elite left tackle back in there, everything

is better."

So hopes everyone, including Brown.

While he rehabilitates, Brown doesn't need to worry about losing his job in the fall. Arians warned last month that nobody can enter the offseason "feeling their oats" except for Brown because "he has earned that."

Even after hearing those words, Brown understands how quickly feelings can change in the NFL.

"In this business you can't really take anything for granted," Brown said. "Anything can happen. You have to go out there and perform and actually show you can do what they say you can do."

Right now, Arians plans on starting the season with Brown at left tackle, which D'Anthony Batiste and Nate Potter played last season in place of the injured veteran. It's not set in stone, however, that Brown would remain there, Arians added. Brown entered the league as a right tackle, moving to the left side in 2010.

"He is flexible to do a lot of things," Arians said. "If there was someone who could only play left tackle. Just having him back in the mix, the whole line looks prettier."

Brown finished 2011 strong, playing well in the last half of the season and setting up higher expectations for 2012. He signed a five-year contract before the season but suffered the triceps injury in the third preseason game.

With offseason strength and conditioning starting this week, Brown isn't yet cleared to return to the field. He's feeling "pretty good" but still has to build his strength back.

While he's waiting for the green light from doctors, Brown is learning the playbook and what's expected out of him from the new coaching staff. He's trying not to focus on the praise Arians heaped on his bulky shoulders.

"I just want to use it as motivation, try to get my arm back to 100 percent and go out there and just perform well with these guys," Brown said.

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