- Associated Press - Monday, August 25, 2014

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) - Kicker Jay Feely is gone after four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, and safety Tyrann Mathieu is close to making a quicker-than-expected return to the team.

Feely, quarterback Ryan Lindley and tackle Max Starks were among 13 players released by the Cardinals on Monday.

Coach Bruce Arians said kickoff ability was the reason he chose rookie Chandler Catanzaro to replace the 38-year-old Feely. Feely missed a 48-yard attempt in Sunday night’s preseason loss to Cincinnati.

“They were both about the same field-goal wise,” Arians said. “Kickoffs obviously were a huge difference, although Jay really improved his. I just liked the strength of his (Catanzaro’s) leg for a young guy. He has a very good demeanor about him.”

Arians said he released Feely with one preseason game to go to give the veteran a chance to find another team.

As for placing a game-winning kick in the hands of a rookie, Arians said, “Any position they’re all the same. Either you can or you can’t.”

Mathieu and inside linebacker Kevin Minter were optimistic about being ready for Arizona’s season opener against San Diego on Sept. 8.

Both might play in Thursday night’s preseason finale, also against the Chargers. Other than those two, Arians said no other starters will play Thursday night.

“I know it’s a great possibility,” Mathieu said.

The popular player, better known as the “Honey Badger,” has recovered in just 8½ months from a severe knee injury sustained in the 13th game last season. He tore his ACL and MCL.

“I just want to get my eyes right,” Mathieu said. “I’ve been looking from the sidelines the last couple of months, just to get out there and get my eyes in the right place. Once I can do that I can be able to fly around and make plays.”

Minter is a second-year player who, like Mathieu, played at LSU. Minter had been counted on to help ease the impact of losing Karlos Dansby and Daryl Washington. He had been sidelined since the preseason opener with a pectoral muscle injury.

“It was like watching paint dry,” he said. “It was so boring, just rehabbing and just watching. You obviously want to be out there, especially with the camp I was having. I was having a real good camp. I’m excited, though. I’m back and ready to get this show on the road.”

Lindley, who started four games two years ago, lost his job as the No. 3 quarterback to rookie Logan Thomas, a fourth-round draft pick out of Virginia Tech. Thomas, who will play the entire game Thursday night, was asked if he ever had doubt he would make the team.

“There for a while there was,” Thomas said. “But once I started picking it up, started understanding it, it got a lot better.”

Story Continues →