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Punt Return "Special Duties" For Patrick Peterson

Notes: Momah hurts knee but Floyd back limited; Saints' Brees battles a crocodile



J.J. Nelson will be the Cardinals' top punt return option, but Patrick Peterson – four years removed from his four-touchdown rookie season and a year removed from being removed from punt returns – still could be in the mix.

Coach Bruce Arians said Peterson will have "special duties." What exactly does that mean?

"I do (know) but I don't want to tell you guys," Peterson said with a grin. "You'll see Sunday."

Peterson has been more active on special teams overall than ever before. That could be seen in the preseason. He said Arians made it clear in the summer it was important for more starters to play some special teams.

Peterson said there could be times when he is the gunner on punt coverage, or playing vice, or the safety on kickoff coverage.

"I think that is what will get us over the hump," Peterson said of starters playing special teams. "Anything that helps us win games, I'm down with it."

He'd love to return a punt or two, too. His return average dwindled from 15.9 yards a return as a rookie to 8.4 in 2012 to only 6.0 yards a return in 2013 before the Cards moved him out. But he's been itching to give it another chance, understanding the opportunity might not come since the Cards want to make sure their No. 1 cornerback stays healthy.

Arians had said Peterson might get a chance this season, so he's diligently been returning punts at the outset of every practice keeping skills honed that he is sure haven't worn away much.

Peterson said he was "ecstatic" when Arians said his opportunity might be near.

"I'm an offensive guy playing defense," Peterson said with a smile. "I love to have the ball in my hands."

ANOTHER TIGHT END DOWN; FLOYD LIMITED

The Cardinals are trying to get tight ends Jermaine Gresham and Troy Niklas back on the field for Sunday's game, and both were able to practice on a limited basis Wednesday with their hamstring issues.

But the Cards have another tight end sidelined after Ifeanyi Momah hurt his knee in practice Tuesday. Arians said the

severity of Momah's injury isn't known yet, but added he's not worried about his tight ends even though Darren Fells is, as of now, his only healthy one.

"We still have one," Arians deadpanned. "We played the other night (in Denver to finish the preseason) without any, so it's no big deal."

Wide receiver Michael Floyd also returned to practice on a limited basis, and Arians said he still isn't sure of Floyd's availability for the Saints.

"He dove for a ball and caught it, made me hold my breath, but he caught it," Arians said, adding "it was the first time he caught balls from a quarterback who throw them a little bit harder than the damn trainers. He caught it really well."

Guard Mike Iupati (knee) remains sidelined. Arians already said Iupati wouldn't play this week.

For the Saints, six players sat out: S Jairus Byrd (knee), LB Dannell Ellerbe (toe), RB C.J. Spiller (knee), CB Keenan Lewis (hip), LB Davis Tull (shoulder) and RB Tim Hightower (knee).

BREES BATTLES THE CROCODILE WHILE PAYTON WATCHES

Saints quarterback Drew Brees decided to go on the show "Running Wild With Bear Grylls," and the episode included Brees first tackling and later eating a crocodile. The former gave Saints coach Sean Payton somewhat of a scare, when he admittedly wasn't expecting his QB to flirt so close to danger. 

The episode was filmed months ago, but Payton didn't know the exact details before watching it on TV.

"I am watching it live and I am looking at it and I keep waiting and the helicopter is going to South America and I keep thinking, 'Okay what is the catch here,' and I keep watching and I am watching this guy with an Australian accent who everyone knows and I must not have been in tune with television lately and I don't know him," Payton said. "He is throwing a noose around an alligator's mouth and I am watching our quarterback jump on it and it was all news to me. 

"I had heard something three, four, five months ago about him jumping on an alligator but like I said I didn't envision the environment or the setup to be like that.  I don't know that I have talked to him or grabbed him about it but I am sure it was a great experience for him."

Brees said in fact, it was a great experience.

"Had you told me beforehand I was going to be jumping on a crocodile and having to stab the thing for dinner, I would've told you you're crazy," he said. "You kind of get in the moment and you go primal. If Bear (Grylls) tells you can do it, I guess you can do it."  

Images of the players who currently sit atop the team depth chart



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