However, coach Sean Payton continued to insist that he expects Byrd back sooner than later. And Byrd certainly looked like he was close to returning from offseason back surgery while performing a series of drills off to the side with trainers throughout practice.
In fact, Byrd was one of the last players to leave the field as he was catching balls one-handed from the JUGS machine following practice.
"We will work day-to-day with him, and the good news is it is going to be sooner rather than later," Payton said. "I don't want to put a time on it, but his progress is ahead of schedule. … We are still just getting it to where we feel he is 100 percent. And then clearly before we leave here (The Greenbrier, where the Saints will practice for the first three weeks of training camp) he will be back on the roster.
"It is just a matter of us making sure we feel that he is ready to go at 100 percent and there is no risk of any injury."
Byrd was one of three players held out of practice Friday, along with defensive tackle John Jenkins (pectoral) and offensive tackle Tavon Rooks (back). All three are expected to return soon.
Receiver Kenny Stills also joined the injury list during practice when he pulled up lame with a right quadriceps injury while running a deep passing route. He left the field with trainers and did not return.
Payton said he doesn't expect the injury to be serious, though.
"He had a tight quad two weeks ago when he was training out in San Diego," Payton said. "It is the same right quad. I don't think it is real serious. I will get some more information here with [trainer Scottie Patton]."
Shorts said he expects to be back on the field this weekend.
"Things are going to pop up," he said. "It's football. Things happen. I'll continue to take care of my body. If I'm able to practice [on Saturday], I'm practicing."
Shorts missed most of OTAs and minicamp with tightness in his calf. He was one of seven receivers who were sidelined in the spring with injuries. All but Ace Sanders, who took a leave of absence in the wake of a four-game suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, reported to camp completely healthy.
This is a critical season for Shorts, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract. His agent has had preliminary talks with Jaguars GM David Caldwell but there's no timetable to get a deal done.
Caldwell said Shorts is in the team's long-term plans and that his injury history won't play a role in the negotiations, but it's something that the team has noted. Shorts has missed 11 games in his three seasons for various injuries and finished last season on IR with a sports hernia.
"Cecil plays so hard that maybe sometimes he gets hurt because he plays so hard and tries so hard and works so hard," Caldwell said. "We don't want him to lose that. That's not a thing that we're concerned about."
Munnerlyn, Zimmer said, has a hamstring injury, while Sendejo is still dealing with the lower back ailment that kept him out for most of the Vikings' spring program. Ford showed up to camp in a walking boot on Thursday, and Zimmer said the tight end had surgery on his foot. He didn't have a timetable on Ford's return, but it's worth noting that tight end Kyle Rudolph missed the last two months of the season with a broken foot last year.
Zimmer made it clear he wasn't happy with Ford tweeting about his injury, adding he'd stressed the importance of discretion on social media in his opening remarks to the team on Thursday evening. "We actually had that meeting last night and then it gets tweeted last night or today," Zimmer said. "They must not have been paying attention in the meeting. So I will fix those things."
The Vikings also had one player not pass their conditioning test on Thursday, Zimmer said. That player won't be participating in the Vikings' first practice on Friday afternoon, though the coach wouldn't say who it was on Friday morning.
The Vikings also released receiver Josh Cooper and tackle Matt Hall on Friday morning, signing receivers Ty Walker and Andy Cruse to take the two open spots on the roster.
"You're going to see Kroy Biermann and Julio Jones participating in practice today," Smith told 92.9 the Game. "Those guys have worked extremely hard getting back. We're going to limit their snaps. They will be as close to full participants as they can.
"Kroy will work two days and take a day off to start with. And we'll evaluate after Week 1. And Julio, we're going to give him a day off every other day to start with. We should have those guys by the beginning of the season at 100 percent and ready to go, and that's the No. 1 goal. We want to be as healthy as we possibly can."
The Falcons have three players starting training camp on the physically unable to perform list: receiver Drew Davis (foot), defensive tackle Corey Peters (Achilles), and safety Zeke Motta (neck surgery). Motta is not expected to play this season.
Smith sounded optimistic about Peters.
"We anticipate Corey Peters to hopefully get off of (PUP) very quickly," Smith said. "He's been working extremely hard off of his Achilles."
"Much like we expected," Payton said of Byrd, who underwent a minor back surgery this summer to alleviate a nagging disc issue.
Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis declined to make any official announcements about whether any veterans will be placed on the physically unable to perform list after they underwent their physicals and conditioning tests on Thursday.
But Payton compared Byrd's situation to that of second-year defensive tackle John Jenkins, who was placed on the PUP list earlier this week when the younger players reported to camp early for their conditioning tests in Metairie. Jenkins underwent minor pectoral surgery this summer and is also expected back soon.
Payton did, however, specify that receiver Joe Morgan is "a go" after Morgan missed all of organized team activities and minicamp this summer while still recovering from last year's knee surgery. Payton said Morgan has healed enough now to do everything, but it will just be a matter of the Saints deciding how quickly to bring him back up to speed.
Payton also addressed the injury that landed rookie offensive tackle Tavon Rooks on the non-football-injury list earlier this week. Payton said it was a minor back issue that he doesn't believe is significant and shouldn't keep Rooks off the field for long.
"Fortunately for us, that's not a big list right now," Payton said of the injuries. "And hopefully it can remain small."
Allen, speaking to five media outlets and the team's Web Site over lunch at the Napa Valley Marriott Hotel & Spa, said an initial MRI of Hayden's ankle in the immediate aftermath of the injury showed no damage. But when the injury did not heal in a timely fashion, a second MRI revealed a stress fracture in the foot and Hayden underwent surgery just after the team's mandatory minicamp June 17-19.
There is no timetable for Hayden's return, though Allen said some players have returned in as few as four weeks time after a similar procedure.
"It's disappointing, both for him and for me," Allen said, "because he's a guy that we're counting on being able to step up and help us this year and he's a young player and he needs the reps."
With the Raiders having only 13 practices in Napa before they break camp and head to Oxnard for a pair of practices on Aug. 12 and 13, it is likely Hayden will miss camp.
Hayden, the Raiders' top draft pick in 2013 at No. 12 overall despite suffering a near-fatal heart injury as a college senior at Houston, had an injury-filled rookie NFL season. He missed a significant portion of his training camp recovering from surgery to remove resultant scar tissue in his abdomen and then played in eight games before going on season-ending Injured Reserve after undergoing sports hernia surgery.
He had one interception, which clinched the Raiders' home victory over the San Diego Chargers on Oct. 6, 2013, a forced fumble and 29 tackles, 23 solo, last season.
Hayden had been penciled in as the first-team right cornerback and, after that first OTA practice on May 27, he said he was "light years" ahead of where he had been a year earlier.
With Hayden's situation, Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown are Oakland's top two corners a day before the Raiders' first practice. Plus, Allen mentioned the progress of seventh-round draft pick TJ Carrie and fourth-year defensive back Chimdi Chekwa as potential corners in a nickel package. Allen did not say if Hayden's situation put the Raiders in the market for another cornerback.
"Is it a setback? Yeah, it's a setback," Allen said of Hayden. "Is it something that's going to keep him from being able to contribute this year? I certainly hope not. But that will be determined by how fast he's able to recover, how fast he's able to get out on the field. And once he's out on the field, what's he able to do? How's he able to perform?
"It's really about, how does the foot respond and when's he able to be pain free or we can begin to get him out there and start him running and start getting him into football activity."
And Hayden's mindset?
"I think he's frustrated but I don't think he's in any state of despair or anything like that," Allen said. "I think he understands he's got another challenge he's got to overcome … the kid wants to be out there, he wants to play. It's just been unfortunate that he's had some injuries that have kept him from being able to do that."
As expected, Smith received about 76 percent of the first-team reps -- 13 reps to Michael Vick's four. Smith completed 7 of 10 passes in team drills, with one sack. Afterward, Ryan praised Smith for his command of the offense. He was particularly sharp in a 7-on-7 drills, completing 5 of 6. It was the kind of start the Jets wanted to see from Smith, the leading candidate in the so-called quarterback competition. Of course, he also got off to a terrific start in last year's camp before fading.
Vick, working mostly with the second team, completed 2 of 5 passes, including an interception (Jaiquawn Jarrett).
Safety dance: They used a three-safety rotation throughout practice, with Dawan Landry, Antonio Allen and No. 1 pick Calvin Pryor taking turns. This will be interesting to watch. Ryan said he wants to give Allen as many first-team reps as possible, but he also doesn't want to take away too much from Landry's workload. At the same time, he wants to give Pryor -- a likely starter -- plenty of quality work. It'll be a juggling act.
Here's CJ: Running back Chris Johnson, six months removed from knee surgery, made his long-anticipated debut. He got a full workload and moved pretty well for a guy who didn't do much of anything in the spring. The biggest takeaway is that, on occasion, he was flexed out as a receiver, displaying his underrated receiving skills. The coaches want to get him in space, which should put a lot of stress on the defense. On the downside, Johnson had one fumble.
New-look receiving corps: Eric Decker, their big free-agent splurge, looked fantastic. He caught two balls in team drills, as did Stephen Hill. No official stats, but it's safe to say Decker was targeted more than any receiver. Early prediction: Decker will be among the league leaders in targets. None of the young receivers stood out. In fact, Shaq Evans had a few drops in positional drills, although he rebounded with a long reception in a one-on-one drill, beating cornerback Jeremy Reeves. The unit had an early case of the yips, as Hill, Clyde Gates and Jacoby Ford dropped balls. At one point, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg expressed a bit of frustration.
Medical report: This could be a minor thing, or it could be considered an ominous sign. Running back Chris Ivory, who missed most of last training camp with a pulled hamstring, sat out team drills with "a little bit of a hamstring," according to Ryan. The coach didn't seem concerned, noting that Ivory was kept out as a precaution. ... Rookie wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (hip) didn't practice. Presumably, it happened early in practice. No word on the severity. ... Linebacker Nick Bellore tweaked a thigh, but finished practice. ... Guard Willie Colon (knee), on the physically unable to perform list, should be ready in a few days. It'll be longer for linebacker Antwan Barnes (knee).
This and that: Newly-signed defensive end Jason Babin didn't make it to Cortland in time for practice. ... Tight end Jeff Cumberland, excused for a personal reasons, also didn't arrive in time. He should be here Friday. ... With Colon out, Oday Aboushi worked at right guard, with Brian Winters at left guard. It was the other way around in minicamp. ... Rookie quarterback Tajh Boyd made a great escape on a strong rush by Muhammad Wilkerson. Boyd showed his inexperience, throwing two interceptions in 7-on-7. ... Rookie cornerback Dexter McDougle got some work with the first-team nickel. ... Cool temperatures prompted Geno Smith to tell quarterbacks coach David Lee that it felt like an air-conditioned setting.
Coach Ron Rivera said on Thursday that Newton will have no restrictions when the Panthers practice for the first time on Friday night at Bank of America Stadium.
"Cam is going to participate full-go," Rivera said as players reported to the team facility in Charlotte. "Obviously, we'll monitor to make sure. He'll go through his treatments just like he's supposed to in terms of maintenance, but he's starting Day 1 on the field."
The injury report wasn't all good for Carolina, which will move training camp headquarters to Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, on Saturday. Guard Edmund Kugbila, a fourth-round pick in 2013, will undergo back surgery on Aug. 8 and miss the season.
Kugbila was expected to compete for the starting right guard spot. He missed last season after being placed on injured reserve in training camp with a hamstring injury.
The back injury is believed to be related to workouts during his rehabilitation.
"I feel awful for the kid," general manager Dave Gettleman said. "This kid has done absolutely everything we've asked him to do and he can't catch a break."
Running back Jonathan Stewart, who began last season on the physically unable to perform list after undergoing ankle surgery, suffered a hamstring injury a week and a half ago. Gettleman said Stewart will remain on the active roster so he can participate in team meetings and walk-throughs.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Jason Pierre-Paul says he's fully healthy and ready to once again be the player who collected 16 sacks in the New York Giants' Super Bowl season of 2011. And he's well aware that, with free agency looming at the end of this coming season, he has plenty of incentive to do so.
"I'm not going to lie. Seeing [Justin] Tuck go, it's on my mind a little bit," Pierre-Paul said about his contract situation Thursday morning. "But honestly, I think I'm going to be here next year, because I know how I play and what kind of game I bring when I'm on the field. And I'm pretty sure everybody around here knows it, too."
Pierre-Paul started having back trouble midway through the 2012 season, had back surgery in the spring of 2013, rushed to return for Week 1 last year and struggled all year with back and shoulder injuries.
The physical issues sapped his effectiveness as a pass-rusher, and he has collected only two sacks in the Giants' past 23 games dating back to November 2012. He has more than once called 2013 "a lost season" for himself because once he started to finally feel better from the back surgery, he hurt his shoulder in the Week 10 victory over the Raiders and played only two more games after that.
Hall tore his right Achilles tendon midway through last season, the second time he's sustained such an injury. He tore his left Achilles in 2011, but was back as the starter the following year.
The 29-year-old cornerback says he'll be rusty in pass coverage, so that's the main thing he's working on early in camp.
He participated in Thursday's walk-through and said he would also take part in Thursday afternoon's practice.
"I guess you could say I reached my goal but that was just part of it," Hall said. "I'm still not all the way back yet. I'd still like to get out on the field, get the kinks out, if you will, get the rust off. It'll be nice."
Ross, 31, who had played six of his seven NFL seasons for the New York Giants, was expected to compete for the Ravens' third cornerback spot. He was signed last month after trying out at minicamp.
Last season, Ross was placed on injured reserve after four games because of a back injury.
"That's a tough break for him," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said.
Harbaugh said there is no urgency to sign another free-agent cornerback. The Ravens' top backups include Chykie Brown, Asa Jackson and Dominique Franks, who was placed on the non-football injury list after failing the conditioning test.
"We have good players at corner. The guys are competing," Harbaugh said. "I expect a third corner from one of the guys who are already here. But if there is somebody out there who can bolster the competition, we'll bring them in."
Spencer is coming back from microfracture surgery after he played in just one game last season. Spencer’s rehab has progressed slowly and he started some on-field running in June.
In the offseason he acknowledged he could need more time to get back to the field full-time. The Cowboys signed him to a one-year deal worth as much as $3.5 million if he plays in every game and meets certain playing-time and sack incentives.
He has a $1.25 million base salary, however, if he misses time in the regular season he will be paid less. Spencer played in only one game last season before needing the microfracture surgery.
Leary suffered a hamstring strain in the conditioning test the players ran on Monday at Valley Ranch before flying to California on Tuesday. The injury is not considered serious but he would need to pass a physical in order to begin practicing.
Okoye is recovering from a personal medical issue that kept him out of football last season and is looking for clearance from his doctors. Okoye signed with the Cowboys on May 16 but was unable to take part in any drills. The hope was that he would be cleared by the time training camp began but he will be examined in two weeks.
Okoye played two seasons under defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli with the Chicago Bears and recorded five sacks.
Wayne is already on his way to proving naysayers wrong about his ability to return from a torn ACL -- suffered in Week 7 against Denver -- as he's been cleared to take part in training camp. The only way Wayne won't be on the field is if the Colts to decide to hold him out. Wayne joked that he brought his boxing gloves to go a couple of rounds with coach Chuck Pagano if he's forced to miss some practice time.
The pressure isn't on Wayne to take over a game like he has done countless times in his 14-year career. The Colts have given Wayne help, the type of help that eases any pressure he has to produce at the level he did prior to tearing his ACL.
There are receivers Hakeem Nicks and T.Y. Hilton. Tight ends Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen. And hopefully the running back trio of Ahmad Bradshaw, Trent Richardson and Vick Ballard.
"I think it helps everyone, not just Reggie to have all these dynamic playmakers on the field," Colts quarterback Andrew Luck said. "Everybody including the guys on the line and the backfield, so a lot of weapons and obviously Reggie is unbelievable so hopefully it helps ease some of the load."
Barring injury and with the help of solid play on the offensive line, Luck could be on his way to having the best group of playmakers he's worked with in his three-year career.
Wayne will still be Mr. Reliable for Luck. The quarterback knows he'll be able to count on Wayne to get open in a time of need. But there's speedsters Nicks and Hilton on the outside and Fleener and Allen who Luck can also go to.
"There's no way you can just scheme up ways to take away Reggie and not have to account for T.Y., as well as our tight ends, Hakeem Nicks and Donte Moncrief," Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton said. "We have some guys that can make some plays on our offense. It's really exciting to know that on any given play, we feel like we potentially have a matchup that will be in our favor."
Wayne made his grand entrance to training camp Wednesday when he arrived in an Indy race car.
Is the arrival in a race car a sign that Wayne has regained his speed?
"I guess you can look at it that way," he said. "This is one way of saying it. I do feel fast, I do feel good. Hopefully I can go out there and pick up right where I left off."
Still, the Detroit Lions can't be happy to see their No. 2 receiver and a player they gave a five-year contract to on the shelf to start training camp, especially since he and the rest of the team are still learning a complex offense helmed by new coordinator Joe Lombardi.
Tate indicated when he injured the shoulder he had a good amount of the playbook and terminology picked up and was taking mental reps to try and replicate his physical ones. And he has the intelligence to understand the offense even quicker.
The bigger concern if he is out for any length of time during the preseason is his chemistry with quarterback Matthew Stafford. Timing and rapport takes repetitions both Tate and TJ Jones -- also on the active physically unable to perform list -- will be missing with each practice they have to sit out.
For Jones, starting camp on PUP isn't a surprise after he indicated earlier this week his shoulder still wasn't 100 percent. Of the three players on PUP to start the season, he may be the one on there the longest considering he had surgery not too long ago and will be playing catch-up from the jump with other receivers.
Then there's Ezekiel Ansah, who missed all of spring workouts. He's a player the Lions will likely be cautious with. Ansah battled injuries throughout last season and this particular shoulder ailment was something the team recognized before it drafted him.
In addition to the shoulder, Ansah had a concussion and an ankle injury during his first season. Considering the team let Willie Young go in free agency, it needed a healthy Ansah to complement the interior play of Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley once the season begins.
The secondary benefit for other players is the chance to impress. The biggest beneficiaries of these players starting training camp on the PUP list will be Kris Durham, Kevin Ogletree and Jeremy Ross -- who will likely be competing for a reserve outside receiver role, although Ross can also play in the slot.
On the defensive side, rookie Larry Webster could see extended repetitions in Ansah's absence along with hybrid defensive end/linebacker Darryl Tapp and even Devin Taylor, who will be competing for a starting spot at the closed defensive end position with Jason Jones.
As long as Tate and Ansah are ready to go by the middle of camp to get the reps needed to ramp up for the start of the season, this could end up being a benefit for Detroit to give other players competing for roster spots even more of an opportunity to prove themselves.
OXNARD, Calif. – The Dallas Cowboys believe quarterback Tony Romo has made a complete recovery from December surgery to repair a herniated disk in his back.
Meanwhile, defensive end Anthony Spencer and defensive tackle Amobi Okoye “won’t be ready to go for a while,” coach Jason Garrett said. Spencer, who played in only one game last season, is recovering from microfracture knee surgery. Okoye, who signed with the Cowboys in May, did not play in 2013 due to what has been described as a personal medical issue.
The Cowboys exercised caution with Romo by keeping him out of competitive drills during the offseason, although he resumed his throwing program before the beginning of organized team activities. Romo’s reps will be closely monitored during training camp, but the Cowboys do not believe any extra limitations are necessary.
“He’s been working very hard on his conditioning and his throwing, and we do anticipate him being ready to go for all aspects,” Garrett said. “Like with anybody else coming off of an injury, though, we’ll evaluate him on a day by day basis and just see how he’s doing. In a situation like this, you want to monitor his throws. You want to make sure his reps are quality reps, that he’s not just out there banging balls, so to speak. So we want to make sure we’re very thoughtful about that, really like we would any player who is coming off an injury, and evaluate how he’s handling the work and continue to progress with him or dial it back a little bit.
“But he’s had no issues, no obstacles, nothing that’s held him back from doing anything. He’s certainly on schedule and ready to go full go.”