Cardinals CB Robert Alford out for ‘extended’ period with broken leg
The Arizona Cardinals were already preparing for six games without Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson due to his six-game PED suspension. Now, they will be without his de facto replacement, as Robert Alford will be “be out an extended amount of time” with a leg injury, head coach Kliff Kingsbury said Thursday.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Friday that Alford suffered a tibia fracture and could still play the back-half of 2019.
Kingsbury only said Alford had a lower leg injury, adding that he expects Alford to miss a significant portion of the regular season.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports Alford is out for “about two months.” On that timeline of a potential return in mid-October, the Cardinals face the Atlanta Falcons in Week 6 on Oct. 13 and the New York Giants in Week 7 on Oct. 20.
Alford suffered the injury in practice this week heading into the Cardinals’ second preseason game Thursday night against the Oakland Raiders.
Tramaine Brock, a 30-year-old offseason addition, is now the most experienced corner on the team. He started alongside Peterson on Thursday.
The 30-year-old played in 12 games and recorded 23 tackles and six passes defensed for the Denver Broncos in 2018 while playing for head coach Vance Joseph, who is now Arizona’s defensive coordinator. Brock has 183 career tackles and 11 interceptions.
Second-round pick Byron Murphy and second-year undrafted pro Chris Jones appear to be next in line. Jones has taken most of his snaps at cornerback this training camp, while Murphy has gotten reps at both cornerback and nickel. Murphy appeared set to be the starting nickel before Alford’s injury.
Arizona’s 2016 third-round pick Brandon Williams, second-year pro Deatrick Nichols and undrafted rookie Nate Brooks are the remaining cornerbacks on the Cardinals roster.
The 30-year-old Alford signed with Arizona projected to be the answer in the team’s years-long search for a starting cornerback opposite Peterson. He had 76 starts under his belt with Atlanta from 2013-18. He was drafted by the Falcons in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft out of Southeastern Louisiana.
Alford was released by the Falcons this offseason with two years and $17 million left on his contract. The Falcons saved $7.9 million in 2019 by letting go of Alford.
Alford has 291 career tackles, 10 interceptions, 85 passes defensed, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.