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Chan on Merriman, Stevie

The organized team activity workouts officially are voluntary, but 88 of the 90 players on the team were in the building at One Bills Drive on Tuesday for the first day of practice.

Defensive end Shawne Merriman, rehabilitating from Achilles tendon surgery last fall, was at a doctor's appointment. The only other absent player was undrafted rookie safety Delano Howell, who is finishing up school requirements at Stanford.

Gailey on Merriman: “He was gone today. Today was the only day he could see the doctor to get final clearances on some stuff. He'll be back Thursday.

Will Merriman be on the field when he gets back? “I think so. It depends on whatwe hear from the doctors."

Receiver Stevie Johnson had groin surgery about a month ago. Gailey said he's not expecting him to practice until the end of July. 

“Training camp, training camp," Gailey said on Johnson's likely return date. "I don’t see him making minicamp. I’d love to say he would, but I don’t know if he will or not. We’ll see. ... You don’t ever want to rush it to the point where you have a chance of injuring a guy further. We’ll try to be smart about it, but if he can work we’ll work him. He needs it like everybody else. We all need it.”

Said Johnson: "I’m feeling good. They got me doing a lot of work in the pool and in my first day out here doing ladders and strides. Right now we’re a good five weeks and I don’t really feel too much in my groin. It’s just a little bit in my hamstrings. Once we get that out of the way then I’ll be full go."

Cornerback Terrence McGee and defensive tackle Kyle Williams worked in individual drills but not 11-on-11 sessions. Other players sitting out due to injury rehabilitation included: center Eric Wood, cornerback Chris Hill, safety Josh Nesbitt, tackle Erik Pears, tight end Mike Caussin, receiver Kamar Aiken, defensive tackle Torell Troup and defensive end Lionel Dotson.

---Mark Gaughan

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