Saints defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins took one step closer to his return to the field on Monday as the team activated him off the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list and returned to practice.
Rankins tore his Achilles tendon in the divisional round of the playoffs, an injury that typically sidelines athletes for at least nine to twelve months. Although it’s unlikely that he’ll suit up for the regular season opener on September 8, it’s a great sign for the defensive tackle that he’s getting closer to his return.
The 12th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Rankins had 40 tackles and eight sacks in 16 regular season games last season and has 86 tackles, 14 sacks, three forced fumbles and one interception in three seasons.
New Orleans added Malcolm Brown in free agency and also have Mario Edwards currently as the starter in Rankins’ absence. The team will be without David Onyemata for the season opener due to a suspension for violation of the substance abuse policy.