“Smokey’s” time with the Arizona Cardinals may be dwindling

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 11: John Brown
DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 11: John Brown /

Speedy wide receiver John “Smokey” Brown’s once-promising career with the Arizona Cardinals could now be drawing to a close

The marriage between John Brown and the Arizona Cardinals got off to a flying start in 2014. The speedy wide receiver out of tiny Pittsburg State hauled in 48 passes for 696 yards and five touchdowns that year, his first in the NFL. After bettering those numbers the following season (65-1,003-7), Brown’s future in the desert looked bright.

But now, things have changed. For the worst unfortunately.

The now-27 year old is currently battling a quadricep injury, and is a good bet to miss this Monday’s tilt with the Dallas Cowboys. Brown also sat out last Sunday’s win over the Indianapolis Colts. The bad quad originally became an issue all the way back in July.

The Cardinals and the wideout have been here before. Brown’s durability first came into question after an injury-plagued 2016. But according to reports, the former third-round draft pick looked to be healthy this offseason before suffering the leg injury.

A two-touchdown performance versus the Atlanta Falcons during their preseason matchup in August seemed to indicate he had gotten over the latest setback. Brown looked alot like the old “Smokey” during the contest, a welcome sight for the Cards and their fans. With Michael Floyd now gone and Larry Fitzgerald’s impending retirement, the organization desperately needed a pass-catcher to step up.

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Following a mediocre showing in the opening-day loss to the Detroit Lions ( four receptions, 32 yards), it was announced that Brown would miss last weekend’s Colts’ game. The quadricep problem had once again reared it’s ugly head. Head coach Bruce Arians has said that “it would have to be miraculous” for the receiver to play Monday against the Cowboys.

It would be fair to wonder if Arians’ patience with Brown is wearing thin. The old-school coach seems to quickly lose respect for players who miss practice time and, more importantly, games. When Arians was asked during the summer about Brown’s absence from training camp, he quipped “if you can’t run (for) long enough, we’ve got to replace you.”

Another thing not working in Brown’s favor is his contract status. The 5’11”, 179 pounder will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. It may be difficult for management to hand over any guaranteed money to Brown considering his injury history.

There’s still plenty of time for Brown to have a productive campaign. Unfortunately, health is something that’s out of his control. The Cardinals’ brass may be getting tired of waiting for the old “Smokey” to return.