Cardinals place Abraham on season-ending injured reserve

Cardinals linebacker John Abraham was placed on season-ending injured reserved on Friday.

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TEMPE, Ariz. — If the Cardinals somehow enter their bye week with a 3-0 record, team president Michael Bidwill should buy dinner for the remaining roster, the coaches and management staff. It’s hard to recall a bumpier start to a season than this team has endured.

Abraham suffered the concussion when he was kneed in the head and his head hit the turf against San Diego. Arians said Abraham was experiencing headaches due to the concussion. 

"It was the first real big one that he’s ever had and there were some other things that we were dealing with," Arians said last week, also alluding to depression.

Arians on Monday announced the sack-specializing outside linebacker would rejoin the team on Tuesday, insisting Abraham was ready to play and his heart was in it again. The move showed how desperate the Cardinals are for a consistent rush off the edge — something that was lacking in a Week 2 win over the New York Giants. Abraham led the team with 11.5 sacks last season.

But Abraham failed to pass concussion protocols this week and did not practice on Wednesday or Thursday.

"The concussion protocol really did its job in coming back and finding a couple problems," Arians said Friday. "The doctors feel that he should shut it down for at least a year. I think the concussion had a part to do with the depression and everything that went on last week."

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Arians said Abraham took the news hard.

"He was excited and ready to roll; hoping that he would get the OK from the doctor," Arians said. "To get that kind of news was real hard. I feel bad for somebody for whom it’s probably the end of the line." 

Abraham, 36, is in the final year of his contract with the Cardinals. By coming back, he will receive his $3 million salary this season, but it is hard to imagine him returning next season. If his career is over, Abraham will finish 8.5 sacks shy of passing Michael Strahan for fifth all-time on the NFL’s career sacks list — his long-stated goal. He currently sits ninth with 133.5.

"I don’t think anyone wants to leave this game with the type of injuries that are going to impact your quality of life in a way that brain injuries can," said Cardinals tight end John Carlson, who has his own concussion history. "No one wants to have dementia at an early age. Everyone feels that way."

It’s been an eventful few months for Abraham, who was arrested June 29 and charged with DUI. He said he spent time in rehab, which caused him to miss two weeks of training camp.

Thomas Keiser replaced Abraham in the starting lineup last week. Sam Acho will see significant snaps in certain packages. The Cardinals also were been without outside linebacker Alex Okafor for the first two weeks as he battled a thigh injury.

The Cardinals also announced they had re-signed punter Drew Butler because Dave Zastudil has had a setback in his recovery from a hamstring injury and will not punt against the 49ers on Sunday.

Abraham’s loss adds to a tumultuous season for the Cardinals:

* They lost linebacker Karlos Dansby unexpectedly in free agency.

* They lost linebacker Daryl Washington to a season-long suspension for violating the league’s policy on substance abuse.

* They lost defensive tackle Darnell Dockett to a season-ending ACL tear during training camp.

* Running back Jonathan Dwyer was arrested and charged with multiple counts in a domestic incident this week.

*Safety Tyrann Mathieu played just five snaps thus far as he recovers from knee surgery. 

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