TAMPA — Several prominent players have been participating in the Bucs' unofficial lockout workouts this week, including quarterback and ringleader Josh Freeman, tight end Kellen Winslow and even rookie tight end Luke Stocker.
Perhaps the most surprising was second-year receiver Arrelious Benn. Not long ago — December, to be exact — Benn, 22, was hobbling around the locker room after tearing his ACL in Week 16.
Yet, here he was on a steamy practice field, less than six months later, catching balls from Freeman and backups Josh Johnson and Rudy Carpenter. Turns out, even Benn was taken aback at his rapid recovery from an injury that often requires nine months or more of intense rehab.
"I'm new to the knee injury thing. … I didn't think that I'd be back this fast," Benn said. "I kind of feel like it never happened. But I have to be smart. I still have things coming back together in my knee. I might not feel it, but I'm young right now, so I heal fast."
And therein lies the challenge: knowing how much is too much. Benn's personal trainers have been overseeing his rehab since the Bucs cannot do so because lockout rules prohibit teams from having contact with their players during the work stoppage.
Benn said his trainers have cleared him to run, which he has done impressively during workouts. He said he doesn't have full clearance to make sudden changes of direction, which would put stress on the knee.
But it sure seemed as if Benn was making at least a few cuts. "On my good leg," he joked. "But for the most part, I'm trying to take it slow and be smart."
TALIB CASE: A Dallas County grand jury heard evidence in the shooting case involving Bucs cornerback Aqib Talib. Talib is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a second-degree felony that carries 2-20 years in prison, for his role in a March 21 shooting in Garland, Texas. Police say Talib attempted to pistol whip and later fired shots at his sister's boyfriend. Nobody was injured. Talib's mother, Okolo, faces similar charges. Talib's attorney said the grand jury could decide today whether there is enough probable cause to believe Talib was involved in a crime.
COACHES SUPPORT PLAYERS: The NFL Coaches Association is backing the players in their fight to end the owner-imposed lockout. The association filed a brief with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Minneapolis saying the lockout is inflicting irreparable harm on coaches who rely on summer minicamps and workouts to get on the same page with players.
Steelers lash out: The so-called "Steelers rule" is taking a beating from, naturally, the Steelers. The NFL's new proposal is to punish teams for their players' multiple flagrant hits that result in fines. The punishment will be financial, although the league said it didn't rule out applying further sanctions, such as stripping clubs of draft choices. "I'm absolutely sure now after this last rule change that the people making the rules at the NFL are idiots," Steelers linebacker James Harrison posted on his Twitter account Tuesday night. "Thoughts on the steelers rule??? lol im sorry that im not sorry we hit 2 hard," linebacker Lamarr Woodley posted on his account.
STOVER DONE: Ravens kicker Matt Stover, 43, will retire today, the team said. He ranks fourth in NFL history with 2,004 points.
COLTS: Veteran offensive assistant Tom Moore, 72, retired. Moore, hired in 1998, was the only offensive coordinator that QB Peyton Manning ever worked with in the NFL until he relinquished the play-calling duties and title last season.
Times staff writer Rick Stroud and Times wires contributed to this report.