DETROIT (AP) -The Detroit Lions took Shaun Rogers off the physically unable-to-perform list Monday, making one of their best players eligible to practice for the first time this year.
Rogers was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2004 and 2005, when the defensive tackle recorded a career-high 5 1/2 sacks. But he enters the season with questions about his play and weight.
``Knowing Big Boy, he likes it better that way,'' Detroit defensive tackle Cory Redding said last week. ``He likes it better when he's fighting up stream. He don't like going with the flow.
``I have no doubt in my mind he will be ready.''
Rogers struggled to stay on the field last year, getting suspended by the NFL for four games for taking a banned substance to control his weight.
He had knee surgery while he was away from the team and didn't play after becoming eligible because coach Rod Marinelli ruled he wasn't healthy. The team put him on injured reserve with four games left, ending his disappointing season.
The 6-foot-4 Rogers is listed as weighing 345 pounds.
``His weight is coming down, he's feeling good,'' Redding said. ``I talk to him every day and can tell his attitude is better, too.''
The Lions might have their first-string defensive line together for the first time Tuesday morning because Rogers and Redding possibly will be joined by banged-up defensive ends Kalimba Edwards (ankle) and Dewayne White (groin).
``We just had to be smart and wait for those guys to be healthy,'' Redding said. ``We need those three guys. They're crucial to this defense. Everybody knows that.''
Rogers finished last season with 36 tackles, three sacks and a fumble recovery over six games in his first injury-plagued season.
He missed just four games over five seasons after the Lions drafted him in the second round of the 2001 draft, overlooking injury concerns some teams had about him coming out of Texas.
Detroit signed him to a six-year contract after the 2004 season, keeping one of the few players to excel consistently for the struggling franchise.
Whether teams tried to block Rogers with one lineman or two, he often got where he wanted to go with a rare combination of size, speed, strength and nimble footwork. In his career, Rogers has blocked nine kicks, including eight field goals and one extra point attempt.
Lions president Matt Millen has said Rogers is the best lineman in the league, and Marinelli has supported him even though he didn't produce much during his first and only season as an NFL head coach.
Last month, Rogers cleared an off-the-field hurdle.
Prosecutors said an extensive investigation determined there was insufficient evidence to file charges against Rogers after an exotic dancer claimed he inappropriately touched her at a club in Detroit.
``Many times there's a rush to judgment and the Shaun Rogers case might be a good example of that,'' NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said recently during a visit to the team headquarters in Allen Park.
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