Kent Somers
The Arizona Republic
Dec. 18, 2004 12:00 AM

Cornerback Duane Starks returned punts last week for the first time in four years, and he wouldn't mind doing it for the rest of the season.

"As long as they give me the opportunity, I'm going to be out there," he said. "Hopefully, I showed enough spark to stay in there. I grew up playing quarterback. I grew up with the ball always in my hands. That's the only way I can get the ball, without it being an interception."

Starks returned nine punts for Baltimore in 2000, averaging 15 yards a return, with two more than 20 yards. advertisement




Cardinals coach Dennis Green wasn't happy with the production of Karl Williams, who has averaged 6.1 yards this season and muffed a punt last week against San Francisco.

Starks took over and returned two punts for 22 yards. Green has declined to say who will return punts Sunday against St. Louis.


He's back


Rams quarterback Chris Chandler will start his second straight game, replacing Marc Bulger, who is out with a shoulder injury.

Chandler, who was intercepted six times last week, will be backed up by Jamie Martin, coach Mike Martz said Friday.

Rookie Larry Turner will start at left guard in place of Tom Nütten, who has knee and toe injuries.


Comeback attempt


Anthony Clement won the job at right tackle in training camp, then lost it and is now back in the starting lineup because of L.J. Shelton's season-ending knee injury.

So Sunday's game is a chance at redemption for him.

"I would prefer to have gotten it (the starting job) another way, but, hey, however you get it, you get it," he said. "I've been missing a whole lot. I just want to get back to playing again, get that feeling again.

"I've been through a lot of ups and downs this whole season, but the only thing I can think about is getting on the field Sunday."


Time to retire?


Rams safety Aeneas Williams has an arthritic condition in his neck that will keep him out of Sunday's game and possibly the rest of the season.

"He's got some things in there that can't be resolved within a few weeks," Martz said.

That means Williams, 37 in January, might have played his last game.

A former Cardinals player, Williams will deserve serious consideration for the Hall of Fame. He leads all active players with 55 interceptions.


Failed attempt


Quarterback John Navarre, who suffered a fractured finger two weeks ago, tried to throw in practice this week, and the results weren't pretty.

"I'll try again next week," he said.

Navarre suffered the injury to the right ring finger early against Detroit in his first NFL start.

A tendon ruptured, pulling a piece of bone off with it. It's possible, Navarre said, that the injury could heal without surgery, but if it doesn't improve, he'll undergo an off-season operation.