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Andre Ellington returning to Cardinals' backfield

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Andre Ellington's transition to wide receiver didn't make it through mandatory minicamp.

Less than three months after Bruce Arians announced Ellington would move to wideout, the Arizona Cardinals coach said Wednesday the 28-year-old is returning to mainly being a running back, per Darren Urban of the team's official website.

The about-face comes after the Cardinals failed to add a veteran backup running back behind David Johnson this offseason. Arians noted Wednesday he needs to see improvements from Ellington as he moves back to tailback.

"Run harder, run tougher. Like he did as a rookie," the coach said.

For his career, Ellington has compiled 398 carries for 1,697 and nine rushing touchdowns, to go along with 112 catches for 999 receiving yards and three receiving scores.

Ellington owns the speed and shiftiness in space to be a pass-catcher and received positive reviews from Carson Palmer during organized team activities last month.

At the Annual League Meeting in March, Arians announced the brief move to receiver, noting the flexibility that position switch could potentially bring.

"Andre is coming back as a wide receiver," Arians said at the time. "We know what he can do as a running back. I want to see him (as a receiver). He'll go to the wide receiver room, and he'll fight for a position as a wide receiver. If it works out that he can crack that, because he's done some great things for us as a wideout since his rookie year, that could give us position flexibility on Sunday, game roster, on the 46 (man roster)."

The switch didn't work out.

With Larry Fitzgerald, John Brown, J.J. Nelson, Jaron Brown, Brittan Golden and third-round rookie Chad Williams on the receiver depth chart, Ellington would have been hard-pressed to make the team at wideout.

He'll now try to prove he can be a backup to Johnson once again. The move back to running back seems like a last-ditch effort to give Ellington a chance to make the Cardinals' 2017 roster.

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