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Robert Mathis, Gosder Cherilus Not Expected to Participate in OTAs for Colts

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Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said last week that he doesn't anticipate Robert Mathis or Gosder Cherilus participating in OTAs with the team.

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The injury situations of two prominent Colts have been a common point of discussion this offseason, as both pass rusher Robert Mathis and right tackle Gosder Cherilus are coming off of season-ending injuries from a year ago.  It's currently unknown when to expect either of them back, but Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said last week that he does not anticipate either one of them participating in the team's OTAs.

The Colts began OTAs last week by holding the first three of their ten OTA sessions of the offseason program, which will conclude with a veteran mini-camp on June 9-11.  With OTAs beginning last week, neither Mathis nor Cherilus participated (which wasn't a surprise), and it sounds like they won't be participating at all during the ten sessions.

Mathis tore his Achilles while working out away from the team serving a four-game suspension to start the 2014 season, meaning that the franchise's all-time sack leader didn't appear in a single game for the Colts last year.  He has racked up 111 career sacks and 48 career forced fumbles in eleven seasons, but there are legitimate questions about how effective he will be in returning from his injury at age 34.  He's reportedly determined to prove himself this year, and the first step toward doing so will be to get back on the field.  Owner Jim Irsay mentioned that it might not be until November that we see Mathis return, but the pass rusher expects to be ready for the start of training camp.  Hopefully his return is sooner rather than later, but it sounds like it won't be in OTAs (which, again, was expected).

Cherilus played most of the 2013 season but did so while injured, leading to massive struggles on the field and injuries that eventually ended his season, as he was placed on injured reserve before the playoffs began.  There are serious questions about how Cherilus will return and about his health, leading to a wait and see approach from the team, from media, and from fans regarding the right tackle position.  The hope is that he can return healthy and return to his 2013 form, but there's a lot of uncertainty right now about whether that will actually happen.  General manager Ryan Grigson said that  they are targeting a "June-ish" return for Cherilus, but it would make sense to just hold him out until training camp if there's a question about it.   That might be what ends up happening, too, as Cherilus also isn't expected to participate in OTAs.

Mathis and Cherilus aren't the only ones to be held out so far in OTAs, however.  The Colts have been taking it easy with a number of players, as Vick Ballard, Donald Thomas, Erik Walden, Bjoern Werner, Coby Fleener, Jack Mewhort, and others have all seen their role reduced a bit as the team brings them along slowly.  For some of those players it means working on different individual drills than the others at their positions, and for others it means that the Colts are holding them out of team activities currently.  There's not much to worry about, but it just helps to show that the Colts are playing things safe in OTAs when it comes to injuries.