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Cardinals Prepare For 24 Vets Joining Practice; Patrick Peterson Joins Return Game

And it's on -- the CBA has been fully and officially and finally ratified by the NFL Players Association and 24 Arizona Cardinals veteran free agents are now cleared to join their first full practice with the team on Thursday afternoon. Kevin Kolb will take the field and while fan expectations couldn't be higher, head coach Ken Whisenhunt is trying to keep things in perspective. The real hype (and almost equally good news) is that dynamic rookie Patrick Peterson will, in fact, join the return game.

"You expect him to make some plays, obviously, but we'll see how it goes," Whisenhunt said about his quarterback. 

The only goal for this first practice is to see how much of an understanding he has with the plays and have him control the team in and out of huddles. Whisenhunt expects mistakes and says it will be ugly at times but it's all part of the process.

The team will conduct live goal line drills at the end of practice and with 24 veterans on the field of the first time we can expect the first team to get more reps than normal in an attempt to get caught up.

Peterson Punt Game

Patrick Peterson, who recently said he'd love to return punts or kicks if given the chance, obviously made an impression on his coach Wednesday when he got his first change to field some punts in a drill.

"We'll integrate Patrick in there," Whisenhunt said. "He looks like a's pretty surprising to see how smooth he is...When you have a guy that's that special in the return game you want to incorporate him."

Whiz said Peterson could field punts and we also could see Patrick and LaRod Stephens-Howling together in kick returns. How much he's involved in the return game will be determined by the number of snaps he's getting as a cornerback.

For more on the Cardinals, check out Revenge of the Birds.