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Jonathan Ward signs UDFA deal with Arizona Cardinals


Central Michigan running back Jonathan Ward celebrates after a win against Toledo Nov. 29 at Kelly/Shorts Stadium.

Despite a stellar career at Central Michigan, Jonathan Ward did not hear his name called for the duration of the 2020 NFL Draft. 

However, it did not take long for him to find a home in the professional ranks.

Ward signed an undrafted free agent deal with the Arizona Cardinals Saturday evening, according to his agent. 

Ward, a native of Kankakee, Illinois, played in 42 games with the Chippewas throughout his four-year career. He twice crossed the 1,000-yard rushing plateau, running for 1,019 yards as a sophomore and a career-high 1,108 as a senior. He was twice named All-Mid-American Conference, a second-teamer as a sophomore and third-teamer as a senior. 

As a freshman, Ward ran for 200 yards on 36 carries and scored two touchdowns. His junior season was plagued by injuries and saw him run for just 212 yards and one touchdown on 76 carries. 

He leaves the program with 2,539 rushing yards and 28 rushing touchdowns, a number that ranks eighth in program history. A dual-threat out of the backfield, Ward also caught 98 passes in his time with the Chippewas.

 He became the first Chippewa running back to have multiple 1,000 yard rushing season since Jerry Seymour did it in 2003 and 2004. 

He now joins a Cardinals backfield that features Kenyan Drake, Chase Edmonds, DJ Foster and 2020 seventh-round pick Eno Benjamin.