HOUSTON — Houston Texans running back Arian Foster is still recovering from a right calf strain, but said Saturday that he feels good and shouldn’t be out of camp much longer.
Foster rushed for 1,424 yards and 15 touchdowns last year for his third straight 1,200-yard season.
The Texans placing him on the physically unable to perform list the night before the start of training camp was somewhat of a surprise.
“I thought he’d be ready to go, but (the team trainer) just thinks he needs a few days with them to work into the routine,” coach Gary Kubiak said. “But he’s had a good summer; he’s been here every day. I expect him back pretty quickly.”
But they certainly aren’t going to rush their star running back onto the field only to have him suffer a setback.
“I have played through a lot of things, but this is just something you can’t and there’s no reason to right now,” he said. “I’m just going to take my time and when I feel 100 percent confident, I’ll be ready.”
Foster spent the offseason using a different training regimen in an attempt to try and “reinvent” himself. He said the injury was what prompted the change, but that it ended up being beneficial because he thinks doing the same workouts too much could cause a plateau in performance.
PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Steelers rookie wide receiver Markus Wheaton will have to be a quick study if he wants to make an impact during training camp.
The third-round draft pick missed minicamp and organized team activities due to NCAA rules, though he did work out with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the weeks leading up to camp. The Steelers hope Wheaton can develop into the kind of deep threat they lost when Mike Wallace left for Miami in free agency.
Wheaton says he’s just trying to make the team, a given barring a setback. Pittsburgh will need more production out of its receivers this season with tight end Heath Miller on the Physically Unable to Perform list with a left knee injury.
Miller said Saturday he still has no timetable for his return.
PITTSFORD, N.Y. — The Buffalo Bills have released tight end Mickey Shuler a day before the team opens training camp.
The Bills announced the move Saturday morning, as players were scheduled to take physicals at camp in suburban Rochester. The first practice is set for Sunday evening.
Buffalo claimed Shuler off waivers in May, after he was released by the Oakland Raiders.
Listed at 6-foot-4 and 247 pounds, Shuler was selected by Minnesota in the seventh round of the 2010 draft out of Penn State. He split his rookie season with Minnesota and Miami, where he had two catches for 44 yards in six games.
He split the 2011 season between Cincinnati, Minnesota and Miami. Shuler spent the final 11 weeks of last season on the Raiders’ practice squad.
OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Baltimore Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta dislocated his hip in practice Saturday and is expected to remain sidelined through the Sept. 5 regular season opener.
The injury occurred when Pitta collided with safety James Ihedigbo in the back of the end zone vying for a pass from Joe Flacco. Pitta lay prone for several minutes before being carted off the field.
“Dennis has a dislocated hip. We’ll have to take a look at that and see exactly what it is,” coach John Harbaugh said after practice. “It’s a serious injury. He is going to be out for a while. He will not be in the Denver game and we’ll just have to play it from there to see how long it goes.”
The Super Bowl champions begin defense of their title on the road against the Broncos on Sept. 5.
NAPA, Calif. — Oakland Raiders receiver Andre Holmes has been suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancing substances.
The league announced the suspension Saturday.
Holmes will be eligible to return to the Raiders’ active roster Sept. 30. He will be allowed to participate in all preseason practices and games.
Holmes was claimed off waivers from New England in May. He played seven games for Dallas last season, catching two passes for 11 yards.
RENTON, Wash. — Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin will get a second opinion on his sore hip next week in New York, and Seattle coach Pete Carroll said Saturday all options remain for how the injury is handled.
Speaking after practice, Carroll said the range for treatment is still unknown. He said Harvin could be back on the field in a couple of weeks, or surgery may be the solution to solve the discomfort in the area around Harvin’s hip socket.
“There is a whole array of situations that could occur. We have to wait and see. It’s everything that he might be able to come back here in a couple of weeks and be ready to go, there may be some procedures that need to take place and there are a number of different ways that can happen and the lengths of the recovery depend on what has to take place,” Carroll said.
“It’s uncertain right now, but for sure we’re going to take our time, be very patient and let the docs get a good look at it and make sure everyone has their two cents on it and we know exactly where it sits and see what the next step holds and we don’t know that right now.”
Harvin’s exam is expected to be Tuesday. Carroll has not indicated which hip is bothering the wide receiver and when asked if surgery would be season ending, said, “That’s a possibility but we’re hoping it’s not the probability. We’re thinking it’s going to be better than that.”
CORTLAND, N.Y. — Rex Ryan has a prediction: If the New York Jets can draft South Carolina star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, he won’t be the coach.
Ryan, considered by many to be in a make-or-break season, delivered a gem when asked Saturday how much of his daily discussions with general manager John Idzik involve looking beyond this season.
“It’s safe to say I won’t be here if we draft Clowney,” a grinning Ryan said. “I can just say that right now. I think I’m going to say that without hesitation.”
Clowney is the front-runner to be the No. 1 overall selection in next year’s draft. Holding that top pick would likely mean the Jets had a terrible season.
”Shoot, that draft is miles away,” a laughing Idzik said. “That’s pretty funny, though.”
SPARTANBURG, S.C. — Panthers quarterback Cam Newton said he has nothing to hide when it comes to testing for the human growth hormone.
The same goes for two of his top targets in the passing game — Carolina wide receiver Steve Smith and tight end Greg Olsen.
All three players said they’re in favor of the NFL working out an agreement with the players union on a reliable way to test for HGH, providing it’s safe and not too intrusive. Earlier this week the two sides discussed appropriate procedures to test players for supplemental HGH, which is a banned substance but difficult to detect.
Newton said having blood drawn is “not a big deal.”
“Whatever the NFL decides to do I’m all for it, whether HGH testing or any testing,” Newton said. “I’ll be prepared to do the test.”
The NFL notified players in an email recently to be prepared in training camp to be tested for HGH for a study used to determine a good threshold for a positive HGH test.