It's been a battle for Justin Bethel for the last 18 months, fighting a broken foot at the end of the 2015 season, thinking it was healed, re-injuring it in the offseason before OTAs to sideline him all summer, fighting it all 2016 and then absorbing a paycut recently.
Coach Bruce Arians has been complimentary of Bethel the last few times he has been asked about him, and Bethel did close the season better -- returning an interception for a touchdown in the finale -- and Arians was asked Wednesday whether he regretted calling Bethel a "failure-in-progress" in early December.
"No ... no, because only one line of that was used," Arians said. "Because I said it was not his fault because of his broken foot. That part never got to the article. It was just I said he was a failure in progress because of not being able to practice."
Arians said Bethel's father actually attended the Saturday practice following Arians' Monday "failure" comment.
"(He) grabbed me and said, 'You trying to motivate my son?' I said, 'Yeah,' " Arians said. "He said, 'I think it's working.' "
Arians again reiterated Wednesday that the draft is loaded with cornerbacks, that Brandon Williams will be a lot better in Year Two, and that Bethel too will be "a hell of a lot better if he can finally practice." (Bethel believes he should be the starter.)
"He hasn't practiced for two years on that broken foot," Arians said. "He can now have a chance to really compete as a corner and get better rather than just throwing him out there when we had to have him. That's not fair to him. But I think he's going to really, really take off with it this spring."