CHANDLER, Ariz. -- Almost five months into his rehabilitation from ACL and LCL surgery, Arizona Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu still may not be ready for the start of training camp.

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said he anticipates Mathieu, who's entering his second season, to be placed on the physically unable to perform list when training camp starts.

"I think Ty is still going to be up to the wire," Arians said at the team's annual charity golf tournament Wednesday at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz. "He refuses to believe it, so that's a good thing."

There are two different PUP lists Mathieu can be on during the 2014 season. He can be placed on the active/PUP list at the beginning of training camp, which is expected to begin in late July, and then the reserve/PUP list for Week 1.

Being on the active/PUP list means Mathieu can't practice during training camp but will be eligible for the season. However, he could be activated off active/PUP at any time.

The reserve/PUP list comes with more restrictions. If he's placed on that list before Week 1, he can't practice for the first six weeks of the season, but would be eligible to return as early as Week 7.

A new rule in 2013 allowed teams to start a 21-day practice window for players on reserve/PUP two weeks earlier. If Mathieu begins the season on that list, the latest he could take the field is in Week 15 because players on the PUP list who want to return that season must start practicing by Week 11.

Players can be activated anytime during the 21-day practice window.

Mathieu doesn't plan on being on either PUP list.

"When my team takes the field, I want to take the field, too," Mathieu said. "I don't know if I'll be pushing it but it's what I want.


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[+] EnlargeRay Rice
Larry French/Getty ImagesRay Rice ran for 660 yards last season, his fewest since becoming the Ravens' featured back in 2009.

With his legal troubles having cast doubt on his playing future, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice has been committed to what he can control: losing weight and getting back to full strength after a hip injury derailed him last season.

Rice is attending the start of the Ravens' offseason conditioning program and has impressed team staff.

"He looks great," strength and conditioning coach Bob Rogucki told reporters Tuesday.

Rice suffered a hip flexor injury in Week 2, and the injury led to the Pro Bowl running back putting on some weight. According to coach John Harbaugh, Rice weighed as much as 217 pounds last season. The team would like Rice to play at about 207 pounds.

"He's doing some things differently as far as his diet and so forth, and he told me has a handle on it," Rogucki said. "Whatever he did from the end of the season until now, he's in a good position right now."

Rice rushed for 660 yards last season, his lowest output since becoming the Ravens' featured back in 2009. He had only one run over 20 yards.

"We talked about some of the stuff that we've done with our training program to try and lean him up a little bit," Harbaugh said at last month's NFL owners meetings.


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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning is using crutches to get around the team's facility this week, but he cast them aside before coming out in a walking boot to address assembled media Tuesday.

Manning's message, as he always tries to make it, is that there's nothing to worry about -- that the ankle surgery he had a couple of weeks ago was the right move at the right time and that it shouldn't affect the Giants' 2014 season.

"I think I'm safe to say I'll be 100 percent by the start of training camp," Manning said. "I would hope so."

Manning had arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle April 10. At that time, he and the team said he expected to be cleared to start running again in six weeks. But cleared to run doesn't necessarily mean cleared to practice.

The Giants begin OTA workouts in the last week of May and have a mandatory minicamp June 17-19. It's unclear whether Manning will be ready for those on-field activities, and that was part of the reason the team added Josh Freeman to its backup quarterback corps last week.

If Manning can make it back in time for that work, great. If not, the Giants have people in place who can operate the new offense as everyone else gets used to it.

"My No. 1 concern is getting back healthy," Manning said. "No. 2 is learning the playbook."


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[+] EnlargeJulio Jones
AP Photo/John BazemoreJulio Jones played in just five games last season due to a foot injury.

Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith said Julio Jones' participation in offseason workouts will be limited as the team continues to monitor the wide receiver's status coming off foot surgery.

"Julio is participating with our athletic performance department,'' Smith said Tuesday. "He will be able to get out on the field and do some walkthrough stuff with us when we start going. Our focus on Julio is one thing, and that's having him prepared for our opener. ... He's progressing well. We're not going to do anything to hinder his timeframe in terms of getting back to work with us."

Jones injured his foot in Week 5 of last season and missed the remainder of the 2013 campaign. Smith previously said Jones was ahead of schedule in his recovery, but the coach never put a timetable on when Jones would start running routes again.

The Falcons began voluntary offseason workouts this week, and quarterback Matt Ryan threw to the rest of his receivers Tuesday morning. Ryan was asked to comment on the status of both Jones and left tackle Sam Baker (who is coming off knee surgery).


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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Former Jaguars linebacker Russell Allen suffered a stroke during the team's loss to the Buffalo Bills in December and is unable to play football again.

In an interview with TheMMQB.com, Allen said he initially thought he had suffered a concussion after colliding with Bills center Eric Wood early in the second half of the Jaguars' 27-20 loss Dec. 15 at EverBank Field. Later in the half, he began experiencing double vision on the sideline, but he went back onto the field and finished the game.

After suffering a headache Sunday night and Monday morning that week, he told Jaguars trainers about the play and that he had experienced double vision on the sideline, Allen told the website. He underwent an MRI and was sent home but received a call on Tuesday morning and was told to meet the Jaguars' team physician at the emergency room.

Upon arrival, Allen was told he had suffered a stroke, and was admitted to the hospital for three days of tests.

"It was strange because [the hit on Wood] was so routine," Allen told the website. "We hit, I got off the block, no big deal. I felt something flash -- like they say when you get your bell rung. I didn't lose consciousness. I walked back to the huddle and finished the drive."


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Cam Newton looking forward to '14

April, 22, 2014
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[+] EnlargeCam Newton
Kim Klement/USA TODAY SportsCam Newton, who threw for 24 touchdowns last season, will be working with a revamped receiving corps in 2014.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton says he is on a "rapid'' pace to recover from surgery to repair ligament damage in his left ankle.

He's also on the fast track to getting to know a new group of wide receivers after losing his top four during the offseason.

"With our first meeting out there yesterday, to see everybody split up, I felt like that lost kid that was in detention and can't go to recess,'' Newton said Tuesday, the second day of Carolina's offseason workout program. He was commenting publicly on his new receiving targets for the first time since the offseason shakeup.

"I was looking at those guys helplessly walking back to the training room. It's all for a good cause. I need to get 100 percent for myself, but my production as far as how I can get better does not stop.''

Newton was wearing a walking boot that he said was entirely for precautionary purposes. He will split time during the first part of OTAs between Charlotte and Auburn, where he is taking classes to complete his degree.


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[+] EnlargeEric Fisher
Howard Smith/USA TODAY SportsChiefs left tackle Eric Fisher is recovering from offseason surgeries to repair his left shoulder and a sports hernia.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Chiefs left tackle Eric Fisher had offseason surgery to repair his left shoulder and a sports hernia.

Fisher said on the first day of the Chiefs' offseason program that there is no timetable for his return, but he indicated he doesn't think his absence will be extended. The Chiefs begin full-squad offseason practice on May 27 and training camp in late July.

"When they tell me I'm cleared, I'll be out there doing my thing," he said.

But the Chiefs are obviously planning for Fisher to be ready and at full strength for the start of the regular season. The first pick in the 2013 NFL draft, Fisher played right tackle as a rookie, but the Chiefs recently installed him at left tackle.

"He's doing very well," coach Andy Reid said. "He's been here the whole offseason rehabbing and has made quite a bit of progress. He's doing all of his lower body work and rehabbing the shoulder, doing what he can with that part of it."

Though Fisher should be ready and at full strength for the start of the season, the surgeries are still a setback.


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Tony Romo participates in workouts

April, 21, 2014
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Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo participated in the team's voluntary offseason program, including throwing, on Monday morning, according to a source.

Romo missed the final game of the 2013 season to undergo back surgery and is on target in his rehab program.

In the first phase of the offseason workouts, players can lift weights, run sprints and conduct football activities without the supervision of coaches and scouts.

This is the first of several offseason workouts the Cowboys will conduct. After the May 8-10 NFL draft, the Cowboys will host a rookie minicamp the following weekend.

Starting on May 28, the Cowboys will have organized team activities until June 12.

The offseason program ends with the mandatory veteran minicamp June 17-19.

Romo's availability is expected in most, if not all, of those activities. League sources told ESPN NFL Insider Ed Werder that Romo continues to follow the rehab protocol, which also includes light jogging and working out in the team's weight room using cardio equipment.

Last summer, Romo missed several days of the offseason program as he recovered from surgery to remove a cyst from his back.

But last December, Romo underwent a discectomy to repair a herniated disk after injuring his back in a Week 16 game at Washington.

Team officials said Romo recovered well from the surgery.

"It's going good," Romo told ESPN in March after watching a Duke basketball game."We're getting close now to [returning]. Usually takes three months, it's just the normal kinda roundabout date that they give you, and we're right on schedule.


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INDIANAPOLIS -- Colts receiver Reggie Wayne, who tore his ACL in Week 7 last season, said he expects to be cleared for football activities on April 25.

"I feel good, I'm ahead of schedule," Wayne said. "I'm at the point where I'm tired of doing the same rehab stuff, to be honest with you. I'm excited to get back to football activities. I feel good."

Wayne said he would like to take part in the team's minicamp, but he knows he'll be held back as a precaution.

"That's probably the right thing to do," he said. "But I'll definitely be ready for training camp (in late July)."

Wayne, 35, had 38 receptions for 503 yards and two touchdowns before suffering the torn ACL.


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Jermichael Finley expects to get tests

April, 8, 2014
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Free agent tight end Jermichael Finley told ESPN's Josina Anderson he's expecting to get an X-ray on his neck Thursday and an MRI within two weeks.

Finley said his scans will then be reviewed by Dr. Joseph Maroon, the Pittsburgh Steelers team neurosurgeon who performed Finley's spinal fusion surgery last year.

The former Packers tight end's 2013 season ended after an Oct. 20 collision with Cleveland Browns safety Tashaun Gipson.

If the results are positive, Finley hopes to share them with interested teams.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy said at the NFC coaches breakfast during the owners meetings on March 26 that Green Bay is interested in bringing back Finley.

"Absolutely," McCarthy said. "Jermichael, he's going through a medical situation. He had a serious injury, I mean there's a lot of excitement, based on what I'm told. I haven't seen him work out or anything like that, but I guess his workouts have gone very well.

"He's in great shape, I know he feels good, but the reality is this injury is going to take some time and we'll continue to watch it."

Information from ESPN.com Packers reporter Rob Demovsky was used in this report.


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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Titans quarterback Jake Locker wore two white Nikes as he spoke to the media Monday about the first day of offseason workouts under new coach Ken Whisenhunt.

The Titans' starting quarterback is still recovering from Lisfranc repair surgery on his right foot, but the boot he was in for about four months is gone. And he's doing stuff that wasn't expected at this stage.

"Being able to put explosive force on it, to kind of jump back and forth and lunge back and forth, was something we thought we wouldn't get into until the end of this week or next and we were able to do it last week," Locker said. "Not only we were able to do it, but the foot wasn't sore to the point where I couldn't do anything the next day.

"It's responded really well day after day to the treatment that we've done."

Quarterbacks can throw to receivers at this stage of the offseason, and Locker said while he won't be dropping back he will be making throws.

Part of the rehab focus has been on making sure he doesn't develop bad habits by throwing with bad form to compensate for the limitations of the foot.

Locker agreed with the premise it's a make or break season for him, but he said that's the case for most players most years.

Whisenhunt agreed.

"You're paid to play this game, you've got to be productive and you've got to play," he said. "I think we all understand that. Certainly that position with Jake, you want to have stability, you want to have someone you know can do that. Jake is going to have the opportunity to show he can do that.


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NaVorro Bowman isn't sure when he will return from the torn ACL he suffered on a memorable play in the NFC Championship Game in Seattle. But the San Francisco 49ers' linebacker has no doubt he will return to his star form -- and he has some unfinished business to tend to.

Bowman said he is out to win the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award that many, including Bowman himself, thought he should have captured in 2013.

"I'm going to come back and (win the award)," Bowman said in a telephone interview Thursday after spending the day at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn. "I thought I should have won it last year, but last year is gone. But it has put some more fire in my body."

In February, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said he expects Bowman to return around midseason. Bowman said that continues to be the timeline, although physicians believe he is ahead of schedule.

The inside linebacker had a spectacular season in 2013. It was shocking to many around the league that he didn't receive any votes in the Associated Press process as the award went to Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly, a player Bowman said he greatly respects.

Bowman suffered a major injury on a signature play. He stripped the ball and had possession of it while tearing his ACL at the goal line against the Seahawks.

On Thursday, Bowman said he knew he blew out his knee while holding onto the ball.

"I was just squeezing onto the ball and hoping the referee would see it," Bowman said. "But I knew I tore my knee."


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NaVorro Bowman happy with rule

April, 2, 2014
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NaVorro Bowman is happy that the NFL has tweaked its rule on whether a loose-ball recovery is reviewable.

Bowman suffered a serious knee injury in January while attempting to recover a fumble during the San Francisco 49ers' loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Championship Game. Although Bowman clearly appeared to gain control of the ball, officials ruled that Seattle maintained possession, and the play was not reviewed.

NFL owners voted last week to allow replay of loose-ball recoveries -- the so-called "NaVorro Bowman Rule."

"That doesn't fix my knee," Bowman said during a recent interview with the San Jose Mercury News. "But [the wrong call] won't happen anymore."

Bowman suffered a torn ACL on the play and is not expected to return until midway through the 2014 season. The two-time Pro Bowl linebacker told the Mercury News that he has watched replays of the injury.

"I'm not really a grudge-type man," Bowman said. "I got to move on if I want to continue playing."

Bowman, 25, also told the paper that his doctors have told him he is ahead of schedule in his recovery.

"[My knee] feels great," Bowman said. "It's early, but I'm doing well. I came back and saw [people in] the organization and they're excited to see how far I am. So, I'll keep working hard and see where I end up."

Bowman recorded 145 tackles, five sacks and two interceptions last season, his fourth with the Niners.

ESPN.com 49ers reporter Bill Williamson contributed to this report.


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Brian Hoyer: 'I'm ready to go'

March, 31, 2014
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[+] EnlargeBrian Hoyer
AP Photo/David RichardBrian Hoyer, who tore his ACL in his third start last season, is hopeful he'll be ready for minicamp.

Brian Hoyer hopes to take part in the Cleveland Browns' minicamp in late April, which gives a clear indication how the quarterback sees his recovery from knee surgery last October.

"I saw the opportunity that presented itself," Hoyer told 92.3-The Fan in Cleveland at an autograph signing Sunday. "I knew we had a minicamp before the draft and I really wanted to push myself to be able to participate as much as I could. With the new staff and GM, [I wanted] to show these guys that I'll be ready to go."

Hoyer tore his ACL in his third start, a win over Buffalo Oct. 6. He had surgery on Oct. 18. If Hoyer is ready by mid-April, he would be able to take part in all of the team's offseason work.

The team's medical staff will be involved in the decision as to whether he's cleared and how much he does. Teams often err on the side of caution with players coming off ACL surgery. The Browns will be smart and precautionary in dealing with their starting quarterback.

"I'm on track to do some of that stuff, most of it I would think," Hoyer said. "I feel like I'm ready to."


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Doug Martin says he's OK to play

March, 31, 2014
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin tweeted Monday that he has been cleared to return from the shoulder injury that derailed his 2013 season.

Martin had told the Tampa Bay Times that he expected to be cleared to return to full activity this week.

He sustained the season-ending injury in Tampa Bay's Week 7 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, suffering a torn labrum in his left shoulder. The 25-year-old hopes to bounce back in 2014 under new coach Lovie Smith, who recently said he plans to use Martin as the lead back in a rotation.

"I think you have to have a bell cow," Smith said during the NFL owners meeting earlier this week. "[Martin] is ours. At the running back position, there's enough reps to go around. We want three guys we feel comfortable with.

"Two will play, but it's not a rotation that where every series we're going to have a different guy in there. We'll have a starter, then we'll have a backup that will give him quality backup minutes."

The Buccaneers got solid production out of running backs Mike James and Bobby Rainey during Martin's absence last season.

Martin was one of the NFL's top rookies in 2012, rushing for 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns. He ran for 456 yards and one touchdown in six games last season.


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