Safety Tyrann Mathieu runs during Friday's conditioning test at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Tyrann Mathieu was officially off the field, along the sideline, joining assistant athletic trainer Chad Cook and fellow ACL rehabber Alameda Ta'amu.
But when strength and conditioning coach Buddy Morris let the current group of Cardinals know it was time to go during Friday's conditioning test, Mathieu (along with Cook and Ta'amu) ran as well. It wasn't about the time Mathieu posted, and that was good – the safety later said with a smile he didn't go as fast as he could have.
"I didn't want to come in here and steal the show," Mathieu said. "I tried to chill. I saw B.A.
(Bruce Arians) looking at me so I tried to slow down and not run as fast."
One of the major storylines of training camp will be Mathieu's comeback. But Mathieu, like Ta'amu on the physically unable to perform list for now, might not get a chance to take part in camp.
"Personally, I could play tomorrow," Mathieu said wishfully, before allowing that at best he sees himself at least a month away or even 6-to-8 weeks. That would put his return right around the Cardinals' bye week after three games will have been played, and right about the time Arians estimated when he addressed it at the end of minicamp.
Arians said it would take Mathieu all of a "day" to be ready to play again.
"He's watching tape all the time and coaching (rookie safety) Deone (Bucannon)," Arians said. "It's a matter of him getting healthy."
Arians doesn't want to push Mathieu or Ta'amu either, he said.
Mathieu said he can run well straight ahead, although he's still about "50, 60 percent" in terms of cutting. Sitting on the side is not ideal, he admitted, but said he didn't want to say he was depressed because he's been truly depressed before and this is not that.
"It's when the team is coming together, picking leaders … it's football," Mathieu said. "It's tough not being part of the game."
Arians said LB John Abraham, the lone player absent, was excused for personal reasons and would be back as soon as he could. …
Tight end Troy Niklas will wear a soft cast for now after breaking a bone in his hand in the offseason, but he has been fully cleared to play. …
The Cardinals have their first practice of camp Saturday starting at 2 p.m. It will be open to the public, although padded practices do not begin until Monday.