Safety Tyrann Mathieu watches practice earlier in training camp. With Mathieu coming off the PUP list, he doesn't have to watch anymore.
The painful news of losing for the season on Monday was softened a bit Tuesday as the Cardinals announced safety Tyrann Mathieu was officially coming off the physically unable to perform list.
Mathieu tore his ACL and LCL against the Rams Dec. 8.
Defensive tackle Alameda Ta'amu, who tore his ACL against the 49ers in the season finale, was
also removed from the PUP list.
Mathieu is expected to slowly be worked into practice, although he said last week he wasn't worried about playing his way into shape.
"I am already in shape," Mathieu said. "I don't ever get out of shape. I'm not worried about that part of it. I am more worried about my confidence going against Larry (Fitzgerald), going against elite receivers."
The goal remains for Mathieu to play in the Sept. 8 regular season opener against the San Diego Chargers, although that still is far from certain. Mathieu is unlikely to jump right back into full-time work, especially given the depth of the Cardinals' secondary. Jerraud Powers has played well as a slot cornerback in camp, and Rashad Johnson has done well as the first-unit free safety – the two roles Mathieu fills when healthy.
Mathieu will fill those spots again, eventually. The question is how quickly.
Ta'amu is needed given the Dockett injury. Like Mathieu, he is expected to be brought back slowly but he also has been confident he would be available for the season opener. Linebacker John Abraham practiced for the first time Monday after missing the first three weeks of camp with a personal issue. The Cardinals also are hoping to get linebacker Kevin Minter (pectoral) back on the field at some point as well.
Mathieu admitted that when he came back he'd likely have to force himself to take it slow.
"That's my competitive drive," he said. "With our secondary this year, we are very talented. So for me to go out there and not go as hard, that'd disrespect those guys. I want to be 100 percent."