CLEVELAND — Barkevious Mingo’s comeback from a strange injury is nearly complete.
The first-round draft pick from LSU who suffered a bruised lung last month returned to practice in a limited role Monday, a significant step in his recovery from the mysterious injury.
Mingo was injured in an Aug. 15 exhibition game against Detroit and hospitalized for two days at The Cleveland Clinic. The No. 6 overall pick took part in position drills but did not have any contact during the 30 minutes of practice open to reporters.
Mingo’s status for Sunday’s season opener against the Miami Dolphins is still to be determined. The 6-foot-5, 240-pound linebacker will likely undergo more testing before he can be cleared to play. He experienced shortness of breath and said he spit up some blood while he was on the sideline against the Lions.
He was in the locker room after practice, but a team spokesman said he would not talk to the media until Friday.
Browns coach Rob Chudzinski was not available Monday.
Mingo was restricted to riding a stationary bike, some running and light weightlifting last week, so his appearance on the field is a sign he’s made good progress.
“It’s good,” linebacker D’Qwell Jackson said. “The main thing is his health. He’s dealing with something that I never had experience with and a lot of other guys haven’t. So you want to be overcautious with something like that. It’s good to see him moving, and whenever we get him back he’s going to be full steam ahead. He’s a smart guy, and he’s done everything right so far.”
Mingo doesn’t remember taking a hit that could have caused the unusual injury.
The Browns plan to use him as an outside pass rusher whenever he returns.
“He’s ready to go,” Jackson said. “He was a first-round pick. He wants to be out there to show guys how good he can rush off the edge. We know how good he’s going to be and how good he is right now. The good thing about this team, we have guys who can step up while he’s out, so it’s no rush for him to come back.”
Shanahan says Griffin will start opener: Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said Robert Griffin III will be under center for next week’s Monday night opener against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Griffin was cleared Thursday to play in Week 1 by his surgeon, Dr. James Andrews. However, Shanahan said at the time that Andrews also had unspecified “concerns.”
The coach said he addressed those concerns with Griffin and Andrews on Sunday. Shanahan declined to say what the concerns are: “You’ll have to trust us.”
The start marks a remarkably expedited return for last year’s NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, who had major knee surgery just days after he was injured in the Redskins’ playoff loss in January to Seattle.
REVIS EXPECTED TO START OPENER: Darrelle Revis likely will make his debut for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers against the star cornerback’s old team, the New York Jets.
Although there’s been no official announcement, the three-time All-Pro has been practicing without any reported setbacks, and teammates are confident Revis will start Sunday’s season opener.
Revis is recovering from knee surgery that sidelined him most of last season with the Jets. The Bucs gradually increased his workload in practice during training camp, however the seventh-year pro did not see any game action during the preseason.
Allen waiting to name starting quarterback: Raiders coach Dennis Allen said Monday he will not say whether quarterbacks Terrelle Pryor or Matt Flynn, a former LSU standout, will start the season opener at Indianapolis until game time for “competitive” reasons.
Allen has announced starters at left tackle, tight end, cornerback and punter, but will not reveal who will start at quarterback in order to make the Colts prepare for both the athletic Pryor and the more stationary Flynn.
Pryor did take the first snap with the first-team offense during a drill in the portion of practice open to the media. Flynn is healthy after missing last week with a sore right elbow.
Quarterback Gabbert may be ready to start: Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert could be ready to start Sunday’s regular-season opener against Kansas City.
He threw passes in practice Monday after missing the final two preseason games against Philadelphia and Atlanta. Gabbert suffered a hairline fracture of the thumb on his throwing hand in the team’s second preseason game against the New York Jets.
“I’m very optimistic and it’s healing well, about as fast as it can at this point,” said Gabbert, who did some light throwing over the weekend and increased his throws Monday. “It’s uncomfortable, but at the same time, it’s just something you can’t worry about.”
Safety Leonhard agrees to sign: Safety Jim Leonhard’s career has gone full circle after agreeing to sign with the Buffalo Bills.
Coach Doug Marrone announced after practice Monday that Leonhard arrived at the team’s facility to take a physical, the final step before signing his contract. Leonhard is an eight-year veteran who broke into the NFL with Buffalo in 2005 as an undrafted rookie.
Leonhard spent last season in Denver before signing with New Orleans in April. He was cut by the Saints last weekend.
Leonhard has 61 starts over a career that included stops in Baltimore and New York Jets.
The Bills are in need of safety depth with Jairus Byrd not expected to be ready to open the season against New England on Sunday.
Wallace signs with Green Bay: The Packers have signed Seneca Wallace just days after he was released by San Francisco, Green Bay’s opening-game opponent.
Wallace, who was released by the Saints after their second preseason game, is entering his 10th pro season, and replaces B.J. Coleman as the backup for Aaron Rodgers. Coleman was released Monday.
In 21 starts and 62 career games, Wallace has completed 59 percent of passes (452 of 764) for 4,808 yards and 31 touchdowns, along with 18 interceptions.
Quinn SIGNS TO BACK UP SMITH: In Florham Park, N.J., the New York Jets signed veteran quarterback Brady Quinn to give them an experienced backup behind rookie Geno Smith, who appears likely to start the season opener against Tampa Bay on Sunday.
Quinn, a first-round draft pick of Cleveland in 2007, was cut by Seattle on Saturday. His signing also clouds the future of Mark Sanchez, who is sidelined with a shoulder injury and could miss at least the first few weeks of the season.
Quinn was on the field at practice with the other quarterbacks, while Sanchez was off to the side on a stationary bike during the 30-minute window the media were allowed to watch.
Quinn has 12 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in six seasons with the Browns, Broncos and Chiefs.
Bears get Rosario from Dallas for draft pick: The Chicago Bears acquired tight end Dante Rosario from the Dallas Cowboys for a seventh-round pick in next year’s draft.
Dallas picked up Rosario during the offseason, and he was among five tight ends on the team’s original 53-man roster.
Rosario is entering his seventh season and could be playing for his fourth team since the start of 2011. He has 99 catches for 1,106 yards and eight touchdowns in 91 career games. He has started 26 times.
Copyright © 2011, Capital City Press LLC • 7290 Bluebonnet Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70810 • All Rights Reserved