Safety Tyrann Mathieu talks with GM Steve Keim earlier in camp. Mathieu is coming close to getting back to practice.
Tyrann Mathieu hasn't stopped constantly bugging coach Bruce Arians to take him off the physically-unable-to-perform list and allow him to return to practice for the Cardinals.
But, the injured safety emphasized, "in a very polite way."
Mathieu soon won't have to worry about it anymore. Arians said Tuesday that Mathieu and fellow PUP member Alameda Ta'amu are "pretty close" to coming off PUP within a week. And for both of them, the news couldn't be better.
"(Arians) tells me to wait," Mathieu said. "I've been waiting for eight months, though."
What kind of timetable that could mean for actual game appearances remains to be seen, or
even how much they might practice at first – although both insist they are ready to go full-bore whenever they are let back on the field.
"I just wait to finally put my hands on somebody," said Ta'amu, a nose tackle. "Those frustrations of the last couple of months, it will feel good to release.
"I think they are being really cautious so that we go out there 100 percent rather than go out there 75 percent. I think we'll be ready. We'll be stronger than last year, hopefully."
That's been Mathieu's mindset from the start. His biggest concern, he said, is not his rehabbed knee or his stamina but slowing down a secondary that's been operating at a high level – especially the two veterans in Mathieu's positions, Jerraud Powers as the nickel cornerback and Rashad Johnson at free safety.
"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."
Mathieu paused when asked if he wanted to get back into the starting lineup right away. Noting again how well Powers and Johnson have played, he also said his "competitive side" would drive him to do as much as he could.
His goal remains to play in the regular-season Monday night opener against the Chargers but knows that is far from a certainty. Early estimates were that Mathieu would miss the first two or three games of the regular season, so to come back earlier would be a bonus for the Cardinals. They will be careful with their young star.
First, Mathieu has to get back in practice, which, while close, has not happened yet.
"I'm itching to hit somebody," Mathieu said. "I'm itching to get my hands on the ball. I'm tired of playing catch with the trainers."
Arians said there is no change on the injury front, meaning all those who missed practice Monday will sit again Tuesday: C Lyle Sendlein (calf), WR Michael Floyd (groin), WR Ted Ginn (knee), T Nate Potter (back), T Max Starks (ankle) and G Jonathan Cooper (toe). Arians said "about half" are in jeopardy of not playing in Minnesota, although he did not specify players yet.