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Arizona Cardinals place S Jalen Thompson on IR, sign Curtis Riley

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Kerrith Whyte (40) is tackled by Arizona Cardinals strong safety Jalen Thompson (34)during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The Arizona Cardinals on Thursday announced they signed safety Curtis Riley off the Pittsburgh Steelers practice squad and placed starting safety Jalen Thompson on injured reserve.

Thompson injured his ankle two plays into Arizona’s Week 1 win over the San Francisco 49ers.

Unlike past seasons, when players were required to miss at least six weeks of the regular season before returning from IR, Thompson will be able to be activated after missing only three weeks. Teams also can pull an unlimited number of players off injured reserve.

Those changes were made by the NFL for this season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Thompson, who was replaced against the 49ers by Chris Banjo, could return from his injury if healthy for a Week 5 game against the New York Jets after missing games against Washington, Detroit and Carolina.

A supplemental draft pick last season who arrived on the first day of 2019 training camp, Thompson became a valuable player by midseason. He finished last year with 57 tackles, three passes defensed, an interception and a fumble recovery.

“When he played, we got better,” defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said of Thompson this offseason. “He made plays on the ball as a coverage guy, but the best thing he did is tackle. He tackled some of the best backs in this league, one-on-one, open field. That’s tough to do. If a safety has that trait, they can play a long time.”

Riley went undrafted out of Fresno State in 2015 and has played 43 games in the past three seasons for the Tennessee Titans, New York Giants and the then-Oakland Raiders.

His best season came in 2018 with the Giants, when in 16 games he tallied 75 tackles with four interceptions.


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