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3 Ariz. Cardinals Hurt in Car Crash

August 17, 1999

PHOENIX (AP) _ A former first-round draft pick trying to resurrect his football career with the Arizona Cardinals was fighting to save his right arm after a car accident involving two teammates on their way to a team meeting Monday.

Ernest Dye, a 28-year-old tackle, was listed in fair condition at Flagstaff Medical Center, where he was still undergoing extensive surgery Monday evening. Doctors were attempting to repair a fractured humerus _ the bone between the shoulder and the elbow _ and at least one of the arteries that supplies blood to his right hand.

``He suffered a near-amputation of the arm,″ said team physician Dr. Wayne Kuhl, who spoke with Dye’s surgeon, Dr. Tim Bonatus. ``It’s a question of saving the arm.″

Dye was injured during a single car rollover accident about 25 miles south of Flagstaff, where the Cardinals are holding training camp.

According to Department of Public Safety reports of the crash, Cardinals guard Lester Holmes was driving Dye’s black 1995 Mercedes north on Interstate 17 about 10:15 a.m.

The car was traveling about 75 mph during a heavy rain when it veered into the median and rolled.

Defensive end Carl Simpson and Dye were ejected from the vehicle. Only Holmes was wearing a seat belt.

No citations had been issued Monday. The crash remains under investigation, Officer Mark Hall said.

Holmes, 29, was listed in good condition with a cut on his forehead and was being kept overnight at the hospital. Simpson was released from the hospital after being checked for pain in his left hip.

Holmes, an 8-year veteran, is the most experienced starter on a patchwork offensive line. Lomas Brown left the team as a free agent after last season and Chris Dishman has been lost temporarily following arthroscopic elbow surgery.

Simpson is currently listed as a starter on the defensive line, which is without tackle Eric Swann, who is recovering from a knee injury, and tackle Mark Smith, who is in the midst of a prolonged contract dispute.

The 340-pound Dye is trying to resurrect his professional football career.

Dye was the Cardinals’ first-round draft pick out of South Carolina in 1993, but was plagued by injuries. He left the team as a free agent in 1997 to sign with St. Louis. He was out of football last year following the suicide of his brother and his father’s fatal heart attack.

Cardinals spokesman Paul Jensen said he did not know when any of the players might be able to return to practice.

``The players’ safety and welfare are all we’re concerned with at the moment,″ he said. ``That can be addressed in due time.″

The rest of the team was scheduled to continue with practice Monday afternoon, team spokesman Greg Gladysiewski said.

``We’re all hoping and praying everything will work out for them,″ he said.

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