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Timeline unclear on Colts’ Mathis return to field

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The Sports Xchange

INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson grinned a bit when he was asked if anybody broached the subject of when outside linebacker Robert Mathis can resume full-time practice work with the team.

Mathis maintained in recent weeks that he will be good to go when the Colts begin training camp workouts at Anderson University on Aug. 1. He suffered a season-ending torn Achilles while serving a four-game suspension for violating the league’s PED policy.

But in talking to reporters after Thursday’s final mini-camp practice, he altered that timeline a little bit.

His plans now? “Be ready for Sept. 13,” Mathis said, referring to the Colts’ 2015 regular-season opener at Buffalo.

Both team owner Jim Irsay and Grigson, though, are taking a wait-and-see approach before offering any concrete answers as to when the 2013 National Football League sack champ will be back on the practice field.

“Are you going to be the one to tell him,” Grigson jokingly asked one reporter before the start of Thursday’s final mini-camp practice.

“I think you kind of hold fast to that point that he’s a great pro, he’s a special athlete and he’s a warrior. We have to be smart and make sure that he’s at 100 percent. We have to make sure that he’s ready to go. That’s the bottom line and we’ll do that when the doctors clear him. He’s a special player. We love his approach. He’a man of few words but when he speaks its E.F. Hutton time.”

Irsay presented Mathis with a diamond-encrusted watch at the conclusion of Wednesday evening’s public workout at Lucas Oil Stadium to commemorate his sack title. Irsay is also preaching patience with the veteran’s return.

“I don’t think at this point anyone knows for sure,” he said. “Obviously Robert is optimistic and he’s a fast healer. I would say I don’t see him being football-ready for the start of training camp, where he would be a full-go guy.

“Time will tell. Obviously Robert wants to be back as soon as he can be. We want him back as soon as he can be. But we also want to make sure when he comes back that he’s 100 percent healthy and ready to go.”

Head coach Chuck Pagano says he’s flexible as to when Mathis will be able to return for practices.

“[He’s) gonna keep rehabbing. He’s not going anywhere. When he gets cleared [by the team’s doctors and trainers], we’ll get him back. Time will tell,” Pagano said.

As always, Mathis has the final word.

“I feel awesome,” he said. “Making big strides, clearing a lot of hurdles. There’s not a lot that I can’t do. But just being cautious. Taking it one step at a time. It’s frustrating. I’m used to going 100 miles an hour. But I’ve just got to be smart at this stage of my career.

“I want to be one of the guys. We’ve got something special and I want to be part of it. I want to be out there.”

In other Colts-related news, Pagano announced that the team will be hosting the Chicago Bears for practices in Indianapolis on Aug. 19 and 20. The two teams will then play a preseason game at Lucas Oil Stadium on Aug. 22.

The workouts will be closed to the public. Training camp at Anderson University will begin on Aug. 1 and will break on Aug. 15. The Colts-Bears joint workouts will come after Indianapolis’ pre-season game at Philadelphia. on Aug. 16.


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