All it took for Dwight Freeney to return to the football field was for Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians to pick up the phone. That and a few wayward shots on the links.
"I was on the golf course ... and I texted (Arians) one day and said, 'Man, you have to get me off this golf course, my swing is going all the way down,' " Freeney told the Cardinals official team website. "He was like, 'Stay in shape and keep ready.'
"That's what I did. He finally called me."
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Arizona finalized a one-year deal with the 35-year-old Freeney on Tuesday, hoping he can provide some of the pass-rushing skills that helped the seven-time Pro Bowl amass 111.5 sacks in 13 seasons with the Indianapolis Colts and San Diego Chargers.
Starting linebacker Alex Okafor, who registered a team-high eight sacks last season, suffered a calf strain in Sunday's win at Detroit and could miss a month. Reserve linebacker Kenny Demens tore an ACL in the same game and was placed on season-ending injured reserve Tuesday.
"There wasn't an opportunity and now there is an opportunity," said Arians of the need to bring in Freeney, whom he coached in his lone season with Indianapolis in 2012. "He's still around the quarterback a lot and he gives you a lot of edge presence."
Freeney, who appeared in all 16 games and notched 3 1/2 sacks with the Chargers last season, said he ready to contribute immediately for Arizona, which plays at Pittsburgh on Sunday.
"I've been ready," Freeney said. ""When I say I'm on the golf course, that's only two hours before I throw my clubs and I go back to doing what I do. I've been training and working hard, because I knew there was going to be a call at some point."