Justin Bethel

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Justin Bethel
refer to caption
Bethel in 2013
No. 28 Arizona Cardinals
Position: Cornerback
Special teamer
Personal information
Date of birth: (1990-06-17) June 17, 1990 (age 27)
Place of birth: Sumter, South Carolina
Height: 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight: 200 lb (91 kg)
Career information
High school: Blythewood (SC)
College: Presbyterian
NFL Draft: 2012 / Round: 6 / Pick: 177
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 2016
Total tackles: 144
Pass deflections: 15
Forced fumbles: 8
Interceptions: 3
Defensive touchdowns: 3
Games played: 80
Player stats at NFL.com

Justin Andrew Bethel[1] (born June 17, 1990) is an American football cornerback and special teamer for the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the Cardinals in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft. He played college football at Presbyterian College.

Early life[edit]

Bethel was born in Sumter, South Carolina and at age 6 he moved with his family to Columbia.[2] He started playing football at age 11 when he was in sixth grade. He attended Blythewood High School[2] where in 2007 he was named Blythewood's Defensive Player of the Year and Most Improved Defensive Player. He helped the team win the State Championship in 2006.[3]

College career[edit]

Bethel did not receive much interest from college football programs, and he planned to study culinary arts at Johnson & Wales University, until his high school coach, Clemson co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott, was hired to be a coach for the Presbyterian College Blue Hose.[4] Bethel decided to attend Presbyterian, and majored in Business Administration.

2008 season[edit]

Bethel played in 12 games during his freshman season, amassing 54 tackles and 37 solo tackles. He had 2 interceptions and two blocked kicks.

2009 season[edit]

2009 was a breakout season for Bethel. He had a team-best 79 tackles during 11 games, 55 of which were solo. He blocked 3 kicks, two in a game against Gardner–Webb University. He also forced one fumble and had 4.5 tackles for a loss. For his efforts, he was named to the Big South Conference All-Conference Second-Team Defensive squad.

Professional career[edit]

2012 NFL Draft[edit]

Bethel caught the attention of pro scouts with a strong performance at the East-West Shrine Game,[4] and because of a YouTube video showing him making a vertical leap onto boxes five feet high. At the NFL Combine his meaured vertical leap of 39½ inches was the highest of any defensive player.[5] Ultimately, he was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the sixth round,[6] making him the first Presbyterian player chosen in the NFL Draft since 1969.[7]


On May 15, 2012, the Cardinals signed Beth to a four-year, $2.21 million rookie contract with $114,224 signing bonus.[8]

On December 23, 2012 week 16 against the Chicago Bears, Bethel recovered Olindo Mare's blocked field goal and returned it 82 yards for a touchdown, though Chicago won 28-13.[9] He finished his rookie season with 13 tackles.


In 2013, Justin Bethel became Presbyterian College's first ever Pro Bowler. In the 2013 season, he recorded 18 special-teams tackles while blocking two field goals and forcing two more field goal misses. He was considered by Pro Football Focus the best special-teams player in the NFL during 2013.


In 2014, team reporter Darren Urban announced that Bethel gave up his number 31 to Antonio Cromartie and took 28, which was worn the 2013 season by running back Rashard Mendenhall, who retired from the NFL 2013 offseason. Bethel finished his third season with a total of 25 tackles and was voted to his second consecutive Pro-bowl for his special teams work.


On September 27, 2015, Bethel recorded his first career interception and returned it for a 21-yard touchdown during a 47-7 win over the San Francisco 49ers.

In 2015, his high school alma mater, Blythewood (SC) High School, retired his jersey number 31. On November 1, 2015, he started his first career game at cornerback and made 4 solo tackles and 2 pass deflections during a victory over the Cleveland Browns.

On December 5, 2015, Bethel agreed to a three-year, $15 million contract extension with the Cardinals that included, $9.0 million guaranteed and a $3.0 million signing bonus.[10] On December 27, 2015, Bethel recorded a career-high 8 tackles and made an interception during a 38-8 victory over the Green Bay Packers. He finished the season with a 46 total tackles and two interceptions in five starts and 16 games.[11] Bethel was voted to his third consecutive Pro-bowl for his abilities on special teams. During the 2015 season, he suffered a minor fracture in his left foot that worsened during the off-season. The injury required surgery that held Bethel out for the first three weeks of training camp.[12]


Bethel began the season as the third cornerback on the Cardinals depth chart behind Patrick Peterson and Marcus Cooper.[13]


  1. ^ "Pro Football Reference Profile". pro-football-reference.com. 
  2. ^ a b Gaiter, Joe (May 3, 2012). "Justin Bethel’s Road to the NFL". Expanded Sports. Retrieved December 23, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Justin Bethel, Presbyterian, NFL Draft". CBSSports.com. Retrieved December 23, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Josh Kendall, "Bethel ready to cook in new career: A baker by trade, former PC star could have NFL future", The State, February 27, 2012.
  5. ^ Darren Rovell, "Draft Sleeper Justin Bethel Turns Heads By Jumping Five Feet In The Air, CNBC.com, April 23, 2012.
  6. ^ "Arizona finally addresses line with Saturday picks", Associated Press at SI.com, April 28, 2012.
  7. ^ "Blythewood's Bethel Agrees To Contract With Cardinals", WLTX, May 15, 2012.
  8. ^ "Sportrac.com:Justin Bethel contracts". Sportrac.com. Retrieved October 23, 2016. 
  9. ^ McManaman, Bob (2012-12-23). "Bears 28, Cardinals 13". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 2012-12-23. 
  10. ^ Sessler, Marc (December 5, 2015). "Cardinals, Bethel agree to three-year, $15M extension". NFL.com. Retrieved December 5, 2015. 
  11. ^ "NFL Player Profile:Justin Bethel". NFL.com. Retrieved October 23, 2016. 
  12. ^ Kent Somers. "Cardinals' Patrick Peterson, Justin Bethel undergo surgeries". Retrieved October 23, 2016. 
  13. ^ "Arizona Cardinal's Depth Chart". Ourlads.com. Retrieved October 23, 2016. 

External links[edit]