The Arizona Cardinals removed Tyrann Mathieu, Frostee Rucker and Justin Bethel from the physically unable to perform list on Tuesday, though none of the recovering defensive players are ready to join the team in full practice.
“We brought those guys off of PUP not necessarily to practice, but to be able to get them mental reps in walk-throughs,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said in San Diego while discussing the move. “We’re not going to get them on the field until they’re ready, and there’s no timetable for any of those three guys right now as far as when they’ll practice, but they will get the mental reps in the walk-throughs.”
The biggest name coming off the PUP list is undoubtedly Mathieu, who in mid-December and Week 15 of the NFL season tore his ACL.
Mathieu recorded 89 tackles, a forced fumble and five interceptions last season before his injury. He recently signed a five-year contract that is backloaded with guarantees.
Bethel underwent offseason surgery to repair a fractured foot in April after finishing 2015 as a starting cornerback for two regular season games and the postseason. He is behind in the cornerback competition opposite Patrick Peterson with rookie Brandon Williams out of Texas A&M taking advantage of his opportunity there.
Rucker required offseason surgery on his ankle.
However, while all three players officially took another step closer to their respective returns, being removed from the PUP list does not necessarily mean they are on target to be ready for Week 1 vs. New England.
“I wouldn’t say that,” Arians said. “I’d just say that they’re on target to get mental reps. They look good — Ty looks real good right now; Justin still favors a little bit, but he’s fine. Frostee’s got to get in a little better shape.”
As for what Mathieu, Bethel and Rucker need to show Arians for him to deem them ready to practice, he said it comes down to passing physicals.
“As far as the physical football-part of it,” he said. “They know and we know.”
Arizona Sports’ Adam Green contributed to this report
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