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Arizona Cardinals

Updated Jun 21, 2013 - 7:22 pm

Cardinals coach on WR Ryan Swope: We're worried about his health

When the Arizona Cardinals drafted Texas A&M wide receiver Ryan Swope in the sixth round of the 2013 NFL Draft, it appeared on paper at least that Steve Keim and Co. were getting great value with their selection.

The six-foot wideout came to the Valley with a reputation for having great hands (caught 252 passes for 3,117 yards and 24 touchdowns in college), terrific speed (ran 4.34 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine) and impressive athleticism (37-inch vertical leap at NFL Combine).

Unfortunately, Swope's gridiron past also contained a bit of a red flag: a history of head-related injuries.

The 174th pick had two documented concussions during his time at College Station, but said after the draft it was never as big of a deal as it was made out to be.

"I was a little disappointed, to be honest with you, when that blew up," Swope told Arizona Sports 620's Doug and Wolf on April 30. "My career at A&M, I never missed a game and I've always been 100 percent healthy.

"That's part of it, that's part of being a football player. You go across the middle and you get hit a couple times, but you've got to be a tough player."

While Swope attempted to downplay his prior head-related injury history, it's kept him from working with his teammates this offseason.

Outside of attending the Cardinals' rookie minicamp in May, Swope was absent from the team's recent OTAs and three-day minicamp -- a trend that's begun to worry both the organization and head coach Bruce Arians.

"We were very, very, very surprised about it," coach Bruce Arians said of Swope's absence in an interview Friday with's Ian Rapoport. "I'm not sure what he can do, I'm not sure what the doctors are going to do at this point. I hope ... because the kid is a great talent, and it would be a shame.

"But having Austin Collie last year, go through this same thing, it's scary."

In terms of on-the-field production, Collie isn't a bad receiver to be compared to. In parts of four seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, he's recorded 173 receptions and 16 touchdowns.

However, Collie has been plagued by injuries during his four-year career, including multiple concussions in 2010 and a ruptured patellar tendon in right knee in 2013.

While Arians hopes Swope can return to the field as soon as possible, as training camp approaches next month, the Cardinals coach said the former Texas A&M standout is the only rookie the team is concerned about at this point.

"I like them all," said Arians of the rookies. "Only guy I'm worried about is Swope with his head."

About the Author

School: USC

Started with Bonneville Phoenix: September 2012

Favorite Sports Memory: Going to Game 7 of the 2001 World Series

Favorite all-time athlete: A.C. Green

Favorite sports movies: Field of Dreams, The Scout and Remember the Titans


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