By: Kayla Mortellaro
TEMPE, Ariz.—- Arizona Cardinals running back Andre Ellington is the subject of this edition of Cards Camp Spotlight on The Blitz with Rich Gray heard weekdays at 2:15 p.m.
Andre Ellington was drafted in 2013 in the sixth round by the Arizona Cardinals. Ellington measures in at 5’9” and a generous 195 pounds.
Ellington had a productive rookie season, rushing for 652 yards on 118 carries with three touchdowns. He also caught 39 passes for 371 yards, and one touchdown.
The plan for his sophomore season with the Redbirds was to be utilized in the backfield as a runner, a pass catcher on swing passes, and even flanking out wide as a receiver. Head coach Bruce Arians wanted Ellington to get 25-30 touches a game, no matter what form they came in. Arians believed Ellington was going to be a difference maker on offense.
Ellington rushed for 660 yards on 201 carries with three touchdowns. He also caught 46 passes for 395 yards and two touchdowns despite being riddled with injuries: foot, hip, and a sports hernia.
Eventually by week 14 of the 2014 season, Ellington was placed on the season ending IR list.
So far, 2015 hasn’t gone much better for Ellington who has been sidelined from most of Cardinals training camp.
“I’m very close [to returning],” Ellington said Monday at camp. “I would say 100 [percent] is not far away. I am working towards it, so we will see.”
With Ellington not the only running back sitting out a good portion of camp with injuries, the situation has become an area of concern for the Cardinals. Ellington admits the process of waiting and recovering has been frustrating.
“It’s a little frustrating but at the same time I look at it as things happen for a reason and you just got to make adjustments and go forward,” Ellington said.
Arians, however is not going to have a wait and see approach.
“I’m not pleased with the amount of time that he [Ellington] and David [Johnson] have lost,” Arians said Monday. “I wasn’t that fired up with the performance of the running backs this Saturday [at Fan Fest].”
And Arians along with general manager Steve Keim are trying to bring in a veteran running back via free agency to push Ellington and the other running backs along.
“We’ll search and see what’s available,” Arians said. “I’m just not pleased with where we are at, at that position.”
*** The Cardinals reportedly offered a one year deal to running back Chris Johnson Tuesday. Johnson played last season with the New York Jets. He carried the ball 155 times for 663 yards and one touchdown. Johnson is most notably remembered for his 2009 season with the Tennessee Titans in which he rushed for 2,006 yards and 14 touchdowns. For Johnson’s seven-year career, he has played in 111 games, carried the ball 1,897 times for 8,628 yards including 51 touchdowns and only lost 15 fumbles. ***
Ellington, however, realizes the situation and is not surprised by Arians’ decision to look for more talent and depth at the running back position.
“I’m not surprised at all, we need as many guys as we can,” Ellington said. “Our room is getting short, guys have injuries, a little banged up, so we need as much help as we can get.”
With the potential of a new running back joining Cardinals camp, and the team, Ellington insists the pressure he feels still comes from within.
“There is pressure more so from myself, you know, I want to get out there with my teammates,” Ellington said. Those guys are working hard every day and I am kind of missing out. But I want to make sure I am ready before I get back out there so I can stay out there with them.”
The Cardinals host the Chiefs Saturday, August 15th, for the first preseason game. If Ellington plays, he would probably only be in for a series or two. But it would be encouraging for Ellington if he could log some game action, gain some continuity with the offense, and get in to football shape.
The Blitz with Rich Gray can be heard weekdays from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. with the Cards Camp Spotlight every day at 2:15 p.m.