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John Abraham returns, expected to be starter for Arizona Cardinal

The veteran linebacker finally joins the team.

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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Veteran linebacker John Abraham, who has been absent from training camp, finally reported on Thursday. Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians revealed it in his morning press session and reporters got to talk to Abraham after practice.

Abraham did not practice, as he had to take his physical and needs to work with the strength and training staff before he hits the field.

After the absence, there was some question as to what his role would be with the team -- will he remain a starter?

"He's going to be out starting WILL linebacker, there's not doubt about that," said Arians in the morning. "He's never been out of those plans."

It sounds as if he will continue to be an every down guy, too, as he became after three outside linebackers were lost for the season in one game. Arians praised him again (as he did multiple times last season) for his play against the run.

Abraham has three weeks to get ready and be set physically for the regular season opener.

He still has lofty goals. Calling himself "a football giant" on the field, he knows where he stands in the record book. He needs nine sacks to pass Michael Strahan on the all-time list and be in the Top-5 in sacks. "I can't do that sitting on the couch," he told reporters after Thuursday's practice.

Despite the distraction of his absence, Abraham is a very important piece on the Cardinals defense. They already have lost the veteran leadership and playmaking of Karlos Dansby and  the playmaking of Daryl Washington. They need Abraham back to be that one player that can win one-on-one battles off the edge.

What type of contribution do you expect from the veteran in 2014?