It was all about returns around the NFL on Tuesday as one wide receiver made his return after a brief absence away from the team while two other notable players could be ahead of schedule in their returns from injury.
That and more in today's NFL roundup.
Five days after he was excused from Eagles' practice after a video surfaced of him using a racial slur, Riley Cooper returned to training camp on Tuesday. The 25-year-old receiver was excused from practice to receive outside assistance to "help him fully understand the impact of his words and actions." The Eagles released a brief statement, announcing Cooper's return, via Bleeding Green Nation.
"Riley Cooper has returned from his excused absence this morning and id scheduled to practice with the team today. He will be available to the media afterwards."
Cooper was reinstated following a meeting with Eagles head coach Chip Kelly. According to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Cooper practiced with the first team.
Santonio Holmes has resumed running and training and New York head coach Rex Ryan said he was confident the Jets' No. 1 wide receiver would be able to return for the season opener against Tampa Bay. Holmes has been out since Week 4 of last season after he suffered a Lisfranc fracture in his foot.
While Ryan's comments were a good sign for the Jets, they came just a day after Holmes reportedly told friends he expected to be out for at least the first four games of the year. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the feeling is Holmes would return closer to Week 1 than Week 5.
Regardless, the latest news is positive for New York. As Gang Green Nation wrote on July 26, Holmes wasn't even sure if he'd be able to play at all in 2013.
The Patriots could get one of their main offensive weapons back sooner rather than later as tight end Rob Gronkowski is recovering well from offseason back surgery. Most reports have indicated Gronkowski was likely to open the season on the physically unable to perform list, but according to Schefter, there has been a positive buzz around Gronkowski's recovery and the tight end could open the season on the active roster.
On Sunday, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe said it was highly doubtful Gronkowski would come off the PUP list during camp, possible he'd be ready for Week 1 and most likely he'd remain on the PUP list for the first six games of the regular season.
The uncertainty of his return makes predicting New England's 53-man roster a challenge. In their latest attempt, Pats Pulpit predicted Gronkowski will open the season on the PUP list.
Atlanta right tackle Mike Johnson suffered an apparent leg injury during practice on Tuesday and was carted off the field. He was later transported from the team's facility in an ambulance. According to a report from the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Johnson was injured during a 9-on-7 drill.
The severity of Johnson's injury isn't known yet, but he will likely miss Thursday's preseason opener against Cincinnati. Wide receiver Julio Jones will miss the game due to tightness in his hamstrings while tight end Tony Gonzalez will sit out due to a family commitment.
Falcons' blog the Falcoholic has a running story up which will include updates on Johnson's condition as information becomes available.
Packers head coach Mike McCarthy hasn't ruled out left tackle Bryan Bulaga for the season, despite reports Bulaga suffered a torn ACL. McCarthy said the team was still waiting on a medical opinion and Bulaga was "hopeful" he'd be able to play.
If Bulaga does indeed have a torn ACL, it would be hard to imagine him coming back this season as that injury typically takes at least seven months to recover from. Acme Packing Company discussed the injury in their latest podcast.
Green Bay will be without wide receiver Jordy Nelson for the rest of training camp after he had what the team called a "procedure" done on his knee. The team wouldn't elaborate on what the procedure entailed, but according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN, doctors attempted to correct a nerve issue.
Nelson has dealt with the issue since college and the procedure should correct the problem. According to Demovsky, Packers wide receiver James Jones previously underwent a similar procedure. McCarthy said the "hope" is Nelson will return in time for Week 1. Not exactly a promising outlook as Acme Packing Company wrote:
"Hope," as in there is reason to doubt his availability for the start of the season. The Packers entered camp deep at receiver, but those numbers are quickly dwindling. Randall Cobb finished Tuesday's practice with ice on his shoulder. Sederrick Cunningham dislocated his wrist and has been placed on injured reserve. The team signed street free agent receiver Justin Wilson to mitigate the damage, but Packers are one more injury to a wideout from declaring a state of emergency.