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2014 NFL training camp: Arizona Cardinals 'optimistic' for return of Mathieu, Ta'amu in preseason

The team might have both players back before the season.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Cardinals announced on Wednesday that both safety Tyrann Mathieu and defensive tackle Alameda Ta'amu will start training camp on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list, which will keep them both out of practice at all.

They may not participate in any drills at all, although they can attend.

But the team is "optimistic" they will return during the preseason, according to Arizona Republic reporter Kent Somers, who spoke with head coach Bruce Arians.

If they are able to begin practicing during the preseason, it does eliminate the use of the PUP list for the regular season, which would make the player unable to practice for the first six weeks of the season.

Of course, if they return to practice and are not ready to play in a game, they will take a roster spot for however many weeks it would take to get them healthy. At the same time, teams do this all season. It is just that at the start of the season there is a slightly different perspective.

Then again, Arians' "optimism" should be taken with a grain of salt. He certainly is not always truthful with his public statements.

We know Mathieu is itching to get back. Ta'amu is a different story. He did have less knee damage, but his injury came later and, while he doesn't do a lot of the open field running that Mathieu does, the leverage that is required at his position and for a man his size (6-3, 350 pounds) certainly makes you wonder if he can recover that quickly.

Will it happen? Will one or both be back at practice before the season begins?