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Bruce Arians on John Brown: If he can’t run long enough, we have to replace him

As Larry Fitzgerald and Carson Palmer inch closer to retirement, the Arizona Cardinals receiving corps must perform at a higher level.

When Cardinals coach Bruce Arians gave a negative critique of his receiving corps this week, wide receiver John Brown’s inactivity because of a quad injury was among the issues affecting the group.

Brown said that he doesn’t think he helps the team if he’s playing at less than full speed and that the sickle-cell trait that contributed to last year’s injuries means that he heals differently than other players. Arians acknowledged that was a fact that couldn’t be changed, but he did say that the team may have to make a choice about sticking with Brown if his availability remains intermittent.

“I don’t have any choice,” Arians said, via the team’s website. “If he can’t run he can’t play. Now, if he can’t run long enough [after he returns], you’ve got to replace him.”

Brown was a major part of the offense in 2015 as a speedy complement to Larry Fitzgerald at wide receiver, but he was clearly a different player because of the same kind of soft-tissue injuries he’s dealing with now. That leaves the Cardinals with a need to have other options lined up in the event they come to feel they can’t rely on Brown bouncing back this year.