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Ex-Arizona Wildcat star Antoine Cason to join the Arizona Cardinals

Antoine Cason returns an interception for a touchdown against Cal in 2006. Tucson Citizen photo

Former Arizona Wildcats All-American Antoine Cason is coming back to the state.

Cason, who spent the first five seasons of his NFL career with the San Diego Chargers, agreed to a one-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals on Friday, according to Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic.

Cason has 12 career interceptions in the NFL, never missing a game and starting at cornerback for the past three seasons.

Cason was the signature player of the Mike Stoops era at Arizona, winning the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back in 2007. Cason was the 27th pick of the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft.

His Arizona highlights include a 39-yard fourth-quarter interception return for a touchdown that fueled a 24-20 upset of No. 8 Cal in 2006, and scoring twice — on an interception return and a punt return — in a 34-24 upset of No. 2 Oregon in 2007.

That latter game — on Thursday night on ESPN — propelled Cason to the Thorpe Award.

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