Rashard Mendenhall is 'more than ready' for Cardinals opener

USA TODAY Sports

Arizona has higher expectations this season, and its new running back is eager to see how things play out.

Arizona Cardinals running back Rashard Mendenhall has been hampered by an ankle injury this preseason, but he's ready to play some football, according to the team's official website.

Mendenhall was wearing a brace and sat out practice on Labor Day, but that seems to be nothing more than a precaution if you listen to what new head coach Bruce Arians has to say. Per the piece:

"I did not let him go today, but he’s more than ready," Arians said. "And Ryan (Williams) is full speed, so we’re fully healthy at running back."

Arizona has high hopes for this campaign despite being in perhaps the toughest division in football, the NFC West. The team has upgraded in many spots, most notably Carson Palmer over the Hall of Fame trio of Kevin Kolb, Ryan Lindley and John Skelton of last year.

Mendenhall also represents a possible upgrade at running back. However, he struggled last season after coming back from a torn ACL which he suffered against the Cleveland Browns in December 2011, playing in six games and getting 51 carries for 182 yards. His last season of over 1,000 yards came in 2010, when he gained 1,273.

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