Running back Chris “Beanie” Wells shrugged off concerns about durability that apparently caused him to fall to the No. 31 pick in the NFL draft.
“I missed three games in three years,” he said, “so I don’t understand the durability question. ... I played the whole 2007 season with a broken wrist.”
Wells came to Cardinals headquarters Thursday to show off his new No. 26 jersey and pronounced himself more than ready to join one of the most prolific passing offenses in the NFL.
“I’ve never been a part of a football team where I’ve had such a great quarterback and so many great wide receivers,” he said. “I’ve always been a part of a team where the box was getting stacked with eight, nine men. It’s exciting to be part of an organization where I’m not going to be the focal part of the offense.”
He said he had receiving skills that were not apparent at run-oriented Ohio State.
“I played running back, but I’m a pretty good wide receiver and can catch the ball pretty good,” Wells said. He also was confident he could block for Kurt Warner, who sent him a message moments after Saturday’s draft welcoming him to the team.
With the release of Edgerrin James on Tuesday, the Cardinals will rely on the one-two punch of second-year pro Tim Hightower and Wells to bolster what was the worst ground game in the league last season.
Coach Ken Whisenhunt said Wells’ ability to play despite injuries was one reason he was so attractive as a first-round pick.
“That’s something we’ll see as time goes on,” Whisenhunt said, “but I said after we drafted him that one of the things I liked about him was his toughness. He had some injuries, but he played through them. To me, that’s what the NFL is all about.”
Wells dismissed a report that the bone structure in his foot made him susceptible to the type of injury that caused him to miss three games with Ohio State last season. “It was turf toe,” he said, “and I got over it.”
Wells will take part in the Cardinals’ minicamp today, Saturday and Sunday, but he will not participate in the voluntary workouts in May because NFL rules require that he complete his college quarter first. His quarter at Ohio State ends June 13.
Wells believes coming from a big-time college program will help him adjust to the NFL.
“At Ohio State, you were sort of in a fish bowl,” Wells said. “It was already kind of like we were always the NFL team in Columbus. We dealt with all the media. We dealt with what to do and what not to do, and I think it will be an easy transition for me to just keep a clear focus at the next level.”
He was asked if he was out to prove something to those who questioned him.
“I’m just excited to be in the NFL right now and just worried about getting a playbook and getting acclimated to being in the NFL before I worry about going out there trying to prove people wrong,” he said.