On the first day of NFL free agency, the Cardinals have agreed to sign safety Antoine Bethea on a three-year deal.
The news comes after Arizona safety Tony Jefferson signed with Baltimore.
An 11-year veteran of the NFL, Bethea spent his last three seasons with the San Francisco 49ers before his release on Tuesday.
Last year, Bethea started all 16 games and made one interception with 110 tackles as a strong safety. He was named was one of NFL’s top 101 available players.
Bethea knows at least one familiar face in Arizona; the 32-year-old was drafted by Indianapolis in 2006 and still played there when Bruce Arians was the Colts’ interim head coach for 12 games in 2012.
“When we were in Indy, it was a crazy year for us when coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia and B.A. stepping in as the interim head coach and from there the bond, man it’s just been there, ” Bethea told Bickley and Marotta Thursday afternoon on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “Seeing him twice a year, speaking before or after the game, it was always love and when I had a chance to hit free agency and this opportunity presented itself, like I said, B.A.’s a loyal guy. I know how he likes his business done. I know what he expects out of his players, and I’m all for that.
Bethea was with the Colts for quite some time before Arians’ arrival. In fact, Indianapolis won it all in rookie season, beating the Chicago Bears 29-17 in Super Bowl XLI. Bethea started for the Colts in that game and had four tackles and a pass breakup. He believes his experience in being part of a championship team, even though it was 10 years ago, can help a Cardinals team that fell short of its publicized goal of winning Super Bowl LI.
“As a player that’s been to the Super Bowl and won and been to the Super Bowl and lost, all I can say is put your best foot forward each and every day,” he said. “You get out there on the practice field, you work hard, bust your butt in the weight room and the meeting rooms and you give it your all and if it doesn’t happen, you can look yourself in the mirror and say ‘I gave it my all and it didn’t happen.'”
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