CARDINALS CORNER

Budda Baker hoping to play vs. Seahawks: ‘It’ll be a game-time decision’

Oct 20, 2023, 7:47 AM

TEMPE — Entering the season, Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker built an Iron Man status. He’d missed a five total games throughout the course of six hard-hitting NFL seasons.

Just six games into Year 7, though, and three-time All-Pro has doubled the number of missed games due to an upper hamstring injury that forced the safety to the injured reserve list in Week 3.

Now back practicing following his designation to return on Wednesday, the safety is doing whatever he can to play back home against the Seattle Seahawks and most importantly, avoid missing a sixth straight game.

But while he’s itching to get back, Baker isn’t getting too far ahead of himself with just two days of limited practice under his belt this week and an original prognosis of six or more weeks before his hamstring would be “OK” to a return.

“We’re playing Seattle, going back home, definitely something I wanted to get back for and be ready to play,” Baker said Thursday. “Right now, I’m just taking it day by day and seeing how everything holds up and it’ll be a game-time decision.”

Baker’s way back to the starting lineup begins by getting a week of practice in with no setbacks and preferably a full day of work.

If he can check those boxes, a weekend activation ahead of Sunday’s tilt is certainly in the cards.

And as we’ve learned over the years, never count out Budda.

Respect going both ways

Baker may have been stuck watching from home or the sidelines while working to get back from his hamstring injury, but that didn’t stop him from seeing the continued improvement the organization is making from a cultural standpoint.

It’s a refreshing sight for the safety.

“Very excited,” Baker said. “(Jonathan Gannon’s) a coach who preaches the same things I believe in, so that’s very special to have with this being my fourth coaching staff here. I tell him all the time how much I respect him and all the coaches.

“It’s been a great culture change and a true blessing for me to be a part of. I’m very excited to be a Cardinal and just going to continue to work hard and continue to be the best that I can be for the team.”

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