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Cardinals release safety Christian Bryant with Tyvon Branch eligible to return

This Aug. 28, 2016 photo shows Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians answering questions during a news conference following an NFL preseason football game against the Houston Texans in Houston. The Cardinals were 13-3 last year to win the division and are 34-14 under Bruce Arians. They've proven they can win in Seattle, a prerequisite to contending in the division. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

The Cardinals released safety Christian Bryant on Monday, opening a roster spot presumably for the return of safety Tyvon Branch, who is eligible to come off the injured reserve to play Sunday against the Washington Redskins.

The 24-year-old Bryant, a second-year player out of Ohio State, has four career tackles and one this season. He played in two games on special teams after being promoted from Arizona’s practice squad on Nov. 1.

The 2014 seventh-round pick by the St. Louis Rams was inactive for Arizona’s 38-19 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.

Branch suffered a groin injury and underwent hernia surgery after playing the first four games of the season. He returned to practice on Wednesday, a sign he would be the designated player to come off the IR.

Running back Chris Johnson and linebacker and special teamer Alani Fua were also candidates to come off the IR.

Branch recorded 23 tackles with two pass deflections in his four starts.

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