Abraham faces old team after big Seattle game

Associated Press  |  Last updated October 24, 2013
(Eds: With AP Photos.) By BOB BAUM AP Sports Writer John Abraham came to Arizona strictly as a pass rusher, a 35-year-old player nearing the end of an outstanding career. But injuries to both of the Cardinals' starting outside linebackers thrust Abraham into the role of an every-down player. It's a job he's embraced as a chance to show he's still got it. Last week against Seattle, he provided the evidence, twice jarring the ball from quarterback Russell Wilson to force a turnover. Now Abraham, the NFL's active career leader in sacks with 124 and forced fumbles with 46, faces his former team, the Atlanta Falcons. Abraham spent seven highly productive seasons with Atlanta before he was let go in the offseason, as is often the case in the NFL, for someone younger and cheaper. ''I just hope I go to the right sideline,'' he joked. The Falcons cut Abraham on March 5, saving a reported $5.5 million. He acknowledged he was disappointed with the way it ended. ''But at the same time it's a business thing,'' Abraham said. ''I've moved on and I'm here now. I wanted to end my career there. ... It hurt when it happened but now I'm OK.'' ''It will be different'' facing Abraham, Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan said. ''Because we know how great of a player he is,'' Ryan said. ''He's really playing well this year, had a really good game against Seattle, played a lot of snaps. He was a great teammate when he was here in Atlanta, and certainly I enjoyed my time with him. He made a ton of plays for us throughout most of my career.'' It's not like his performance dropped off in Atlanta. Last season, he had 10 sacks and a career-best and franchise-record six forced fumbles. Although he will be zeroing in on Ryan, who has been sacked just eight times in six games, Abraham expresses no ill will toward his old quarterback, or any quarterback for that matter. ''Everybody asks me about the quarterbacks,'' Abraham said. ''I love them. That's the reason I get paid. I just don't like the guys in front of him, the tight end, the tackles.'' Abraham was out of work for four months before the Cardinals signed him to a two-year contract. The idea was to use him as a pass-rushing specialist, only on obvious passing situations. Abraham went along but wasn't keen on the role. He would much rather be out there every down. ''You can make a big play on the first play. You never know,'' Abraham said. ''If you're sitting on the bench, you can't do nothing. I'm a team player, but I don't want to be on the bench.'' His chance to be more than a part-time player came when both starting outside linebackers - Sam Acho and Lorenzo Alexander - went down with season-ending injuries the third week of the season. ''I'm not happy how it turned out,'' Abraham said. ''I hate seeing people get hurt. But I'm glad I got a chance to start. I'm an all-time player. I can play anytime you put me on the field. I'm glad I showed I still can play at this stage.'' Abraham got off to a slow start to the season, but his play picked up when he got the starting job. ''He's doing a great job of taking care of his body,'' Arizona coach Bruce Arians said. ''The extra load, 20 snaps a game, he's handled really well. Actually, he's played better. It's helping him get into a good flow.'' Abraham didn't have a sack this season until he twice burst through to knock the ball loose from Russell deep in Seattle territory. Arians called it ''the best game he's played since he's been here, run and pass.'' Abraham doesn't believe he has anything to prove to the Falcons. ''I think I've proved it over 14 years,'' he said. ''I played seven years for them so they know what I got. I'm trying to show Arizona I've got something. I'm mad it took so long to show up.'' NOTES: Four Arizona players did not practice Wednesday: G Daryn Colledge (back), RB Rashard Mendenhall (toe), OLB Matt Shaughnessy (knee), G Earl Watford (knee). ... Arians said Watford was hurt in a car accident on the way to the team facility on Tuesday. --- AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org --- Follow Bob Baum at www.twitter.com/Thebaumerphx
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
One Gotta Go: NFL legends talking comedians is no joke
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Tony Romo likely out 8-10 weeks

Late appeal moves NFL concussion settlement to the Supreme Court

NHL adds meldonium to banned substances list

Report: Chances of Jonathan Papelbon signing ‘non-existent’

Chris Bosh isn’t pleased with the Miami Heat

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

NFL clears players in HGH investigation

NFL execs: Kaepernick 'traitor,' hated as much as Carruth

Kansas FB settling first-team reps with Rock-Paper-Scissors

Report: Vikings trainers saved Bridgewater's 'leg and career'

Baylor WR suspended 3 games for beating his dog

Craig Sager to undergo third bone marrow transplant

2016 offers more lessons for the NFL on domestic violence

Twitch works to highlight gamers with disabilities

WATCH: Lorenzo Neal opens up about worst game of career

The NBA's worst signature shoes

The barren wasteland of available NFL quarterbacks

College football conference breakdown, Week 1

Kevin Owens is the right WWE Champion at the right time

Jake Arrieta almost quit baseball before trade to Cubs

Fred Taylor: NFL doctors never told me about multiple injuries

WATCH: Lorenzo Neal on the one move that caused the demise of the Chargers

The hottest MLB pitchers headed into September sprint

Kanye West, Saint Pablo Tour and the anti-celebrity

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

2016 offers more lessons for the NFL on domestic violence

Twitch works to highlight gamers with disabilities

WATCH: Lorenzo Neal opens up about the worst game of his career

The NBA's worst signature shoes

The barren wasteland of available NFL quarterbacks

College football conference breakdown, Week 1

WATCH: Lorenzo Neal on the one move that caused the demise of the Chargers

The hottest MLB pitchers headed into September sprint

West-ern Literature: How Kanye's fans find meaning in between the lines

Madden 17's live commentary tackles Kaepernick controversy

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker