Safety T.J. Ward signs on to Arizona Cardinals practice squad
T.J. Ward joined the Arizona Cardinals practice squad Thursday, giving the team depth after a rash of injuries decimated the safety position through the first three games of 2020.
To make room for the addition, Arizona released practice squad offensive tackle Rick Leonard, who joined the team on Sept. 22.
The 33-year-old Ward, a two-time Pro Bowler, last played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2017.
Thanks to the practice squad rules altered due to the coronavirus, the Cardinals could easily elevate Ward to the active roster. But defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said Thursday that Ward wouldn’t be integrated enough to play for Arizona in its Week 4 game at Carolina on Sunday.
Down the line, Ward could provide a physical presence for a safety room that this week will miss Budda Baker, who underwent a thumb procedure this week.
Arizona is also down two safeties opposite Baker. The team lost starter Jalen Thompson (ankle) in Week 1 before fill-in Chris Banjo tweaked his hamstring in last week’s loss to the Detroit Lions. Banjo did not practice on Wednesday, while Thompson is on injured reserve.
Joseph named Deionte Thompson and recent addition Curtis Riley as the two starters against the Panthers. Special teamer Charles Washington is also available.
Before his 2017 stint with the Buccaneers, Ward played for the Cleveland Browns (2010-13) and Denver Broncos (2014-16), making the Pro Bowl in 2013 and 2014. The Super Bowl 50 champion with the Broncos has 107 career games under his belt and entered the league out of Oregon as Cleveland’s 2010 second-round pick.
Ward has eight interceptions, 44 passes defensed, 10 forced fumbles, 8.5 sacks, 29 tackles for loss and 607 career tackles.