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Lions WR Rogers cleared for contact

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (June 7, 2005) -- Charles Rogers has taken a step in his comeback with the Detroit Lions in minicamp sessions by shedding a red jersey that protects players from being hit.

Rogers, the second pick overall in 2003, played five games as a rookie before breaking his collarbone. He broke it again in the season opener last year.

"We're not scrimmaging so it's still a little different than the real stuff, but at least it's a step in the right direction for them," Lions coach Steve Mariucci said. "(Rogers) is not necessarily hands off. We can jam him a little bit on the line of scrimmage and we can bump him around. He's not protected."

Rogers has 22 career receptions for 243 yards and three touchdowns, all in his rookie season after starring at Michigan State and Saginaw High School.

Mariucci said having Rogers practice without restrictions will help him do more than just physically withstand contact.

"It is not just the physical part of his recovery, it is the mental aspect as well," Mariucci said. "With the doctor's approval we are to that point where the red jersey comes off. I think he shoved it in the laundry (Monday) and I hope not to see it again, but we will see how it goes."

Though the Lions also have two other first-round picks lining up at receiver -- Roy Williams and rookie Mike Williams -- Mariucci has a tendency to keep a closer eye on Rogers.

"It is just human nature to watch him more," he said. "Last preseason if you recall, we would watch him all the time just to see if he was OK."

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