Status of Peters, Motta unclear

June, 20, 2014
Jun 20
8:05
AM ET
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Corey Peters could start training camp on the physically unable to perform list coming off an Achilles tear, while safety Zeke Motta's status for the 2014 season coming off neck surgery will be determined next month.

Both players were on the field working with the training staff during the last day of minicamp on Thursday. Peters did some light running, which appear to be a positive step in his goal to be ready for Week 1 of the regular season. He suffered the Achilles tear last December against the San Francisco 49ers.

"He has been running, but (Thursday) was probably the most extensive," coach Mike Smith said of Peters. "I can't answer if he's going to play in the preseason right now. He's ahead of schedule, but you've got to realize it was the end of December. Traditionally, it's a nine to 12 month recovery."

Asked if Peters could be on PUP for training camp, Smith responded, "Yes, that's a possibility. I'm not going to rule out that he's not going to be ready. And not going to rule out that something else happens. But we are very pleased with his progress. He is ahead of schedule right now and we're about seven months into it."

If Peters starts training camp on the active PUP list, he can be activated at any time. He would be able to dress for training camp practices but not allowed to participate.

If Peters starts the season on the reserve/PUP list, he would have to miss the first six weeks of the regular season. He would then have to start practicing by at least Week 11 in order to return.

The good thing for Peters is he doesn't have to be forced back into action too soon, based on the additions the Falcons made this offseason. The defensive line rotation will be fresher with Tyson Jackson and Paul Soliai to count upon to be the run-stuffers and players such as Peters able to sub in to provide a little more push in the pass rush. Peters had five sacks last season, second on the team behind Osi Umenyiora (7.5).

As for Motta, having him back in the safety rotation would be a bonus. Motta underwent surgery Dec. 22 after suffering a cervical fracture against the Green Bay Packers on Dec. 8.

"Zeke has a follow-up appointment in July, and that's going to be the determination of when he'll be able to return to the field, if he'll return to the field this year," Smith said.

Top receiver Julio Jones expects to be a full participant in training camp coming off foot surgery, although he didn't participate in any offseason practices.

Vaughn McClure

ESPN Atlanta Falcons reporter

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