A familiar face is back with the Arizona Cardinals. Running back Robert Hughes was signed to the practice squad on Thursday and running back Mike Gillislee was released from it.
Hughes (5-11, 235) played in all 16 games for the Cardinals last season and caught eight passes for 140 yards and had seven carries for 11 yards. He also had three special teams tackles and a fumble recovery. Hughes originally joined the Cardinals on the practice squad in 2013. For his career, he has played in 22 games (five starts) and has eight carries for 16 yards, 10 receptions for 149 yards and four special teams tackles. Hughes was released by the Cardinals on September 5.
When Hughes was cut, it surprised a lot of people, as he looked like a lock for the roster. Of course, the move could be considered insurance at tight end. How? Well, the Cardinals will have tight ends frequently line up in the backfield as a blocking back, at least to start some formations. With Darren Fells injured, the Cardinals only have Jermaine Gresham and Troy Niklas who are healthy and on the active roster. They do have Brandon Bostick also on the practice squad as well, but I could see Hughes being promoted to the 53-man roster and being used in some packages. He was a key special teams contributor as well.
Head coach Bruce Arians made an interesting comment about practice squad players on Thursday. While they have to be hard workers, "you can find a ton of guys who will work their ass off," he said. "You just don't want them out there playing on Sundays. They make good sons-in-law." Perhaps Gillislee just didn't show enough upside.