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Arizona Cardinals sign veteran cornerback Alan Ball

With a roster lined with unproven cornerbacks, the Cardinals have signed veteran Alan Ball to compete for a roster spot during training camp.

First came the late July signing of cornerback Mike Jenkins. Then came the rumors of Chris Culliver. Now, the Arizona Cardinals have inked nine-year NFL veteran Alan Ball.

Arizona announced the signing of Ball on Thursday evening after the team's practice. To keep the roster at 90 active players, the Cardinals released safety Tyrequek Zimmerman, who was moved back and forth from the team's roster this offseason.

Ball is a nine-year NFL veteran who began his career with the Dallas Cowboys before making stops in Houston, Jacksonville and Chicago. 

Ball has played in 108 games and has tallied 48 career starts, which immediately makes him the third most experienced cornerback on the Cardinals' roster. Aside from Patrick Peterson (80) and Jenkins (68), no other Arizona cornerback has more than 10 NFL starts in their career.

The terms of the deal were undisclosed, but with Ball lingering as a free agent into training camp, it's unlikely Arizona signed him for more than the veteran minimum. 

In a press conference on Thursday, head coach Bruce Arians indicated returner Justin Bethel may still need two weeks to recover from offseason surgery before he can hit the practice field, and also said Jenkins would need time to recover from surgery he had on a broken hand suffered at the beginning of training camp.

The Cardinals have raved about rookie cornerback Brandon Williams during camp, but at the practices we've attended, Williams has looked raw and has struggled with the more technical aspects of playing the position.

With Williams taking first team reps, journeymen corners Asa Jackson and Shaun Prater have seen second team opportunities while Cariel Brooks has been the primary backup behind Peterson and Williams.

Arizona signed Bethel to a multi-year extension this offseason, but his rehabilitation process and the team's inexperience at cornerback has forced general manager Steve Keim to examine additional options at the position in the past few weeks.  

The Cardinals will hold their annual "Red and White" practice Saturday at 2:00 p.m. at University of Phoenix Stadium, but all training camp practices are open to the general public. 


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