As a team, the Arizona Cardinals are playing for nothing more than pride when they travel to division rival San Francisco this week.
Individually, however, several may be playing for jobs.
“I’m auditioning for a job somewhere else,” Beanie Wells said Monday.
The former first-round pick believes his days are numbered in the desert.
“Without a doubt,” said Wells. “It’s inevitable.”
Wells’ fate may have been sealed after he put the ball on the ground early in the first quarter of Sunday’s 28-13 loss to the Chicago Bears. The fumble was recovered by Zack Bowman and returned for a touchdown.
“I ran into Ryan (Lindley),” he said after reviewing the play on film. “I was trying to make a cut in the air and by the time my foot got down, my front foot went forward and my right foot went backward. I just slipped all over the place. It was bad. But I still should’ve held onto the ball.”
After the fumble, Wells was benched for most of the game’s final three quarters, carrying the ball only one more time the rest of the contest.
Head coach Ken Whisenhunt said he still has confidence in his running back but made it clear he wouldn’t put up with costly turnovers.
“In the NFL, if you turn the ball over, you’re not going to play,” Whisenhunt said.
Wells said he disagreed with the decision to be kept on the sideline, adding he gets the sense it may be time for him and the team to part ways.
“How things have gone,” he said when asked to give specifics. “Not just as of late, but just since I’ve been here.”
Wells said there have been no “hard discussions” with the team about his future.
“It’s a performance-based business,” he said. “I don’t know if I’ve done things up to our organization’s standards here. Maybe it is a discussion that we’ll have later on.”
Wells rushed for over 1,000 yards last season, but his career has been plagued by injuries since the Cardinals made him the No. 31 overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.
“You never expect things to unfold the way they do,” he said. “But it’s a part of life. You’ve got to roll with the punches and adjust to them as they come.”