It’s been roughly three years since T.J. Ward suited up for an NFL team, but the former Pro Bowl safety is officially back in the league.
On Thursday, the Arizona Cardinals announced that they signed Ward to their practice squad. They can pull him up to the main roster if they wish due to the new COVID practice squad rules.
Ward has 607 tackles, 8.5 sacks and eight interceptions over the course of his career. He last played in Tampa Bay, where he had 43 tackles and three passes defended in 12 games.
The Cardinals needed to bolster their secondary after losing Budda Baker to a thumb injury last week. Additionally, the team is without strong safety Jalen Thompson, who is on injured reserve because of an ankle injury.
— Darren Urban (@Cardschatter) October 1, 2020
In order to make room for Ward on the practice squad, Arizona released offensive lineman Rick Leonard.
The odds of Ward playing this weekend against the Panthers are pretty slim. He’ll need at least a week or two to learn Vance Joseph’s defense.
Since the Cardinals will likely be without Baker for Week 4, Curtis Riley and Deionte Thompson might have to start at safety. Another option for the defense includes using first-round pick Isaiah Simmons in a safety/linebacker hybrid role.
It’ll be interesting to see how Arizona shuffles around its secondary amid all the injuries.