Jason Pierre-Paul (neck) cleared to resume rehab

Jason Pierre-Paul took a major step Tuesday toward his return to game action.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end has been cleared by club and independent doctors to resume rehab activities, sources told NFL Network's Tom Pelissero on Tuesday. This comes less than four months after Pierre-Paul suffered a fractured vertebra in a one-car wreck.

Pierre-Paul was back at Bucs practice, sans neck brace, on Tuesday for the first time since the injury.

It remains to be seen when Pierre-Paul will be cleared to play again, but Tuesday's news is undoubtedly a positive development for the veteran edge rusher.

Following the accident in May, JPP had the option to undergo surgery on his neck or let the injury heal on its own. Pierre-Paul chose the latter option, anticipating a five-to-six month recovery and a return to the field around October or November.

Asked last week about Pierre-Paul's recovery, Bucs coach Bruce Arians did not provide a timeline for his return but was not worried about the veteran DE missing all of Tampa Bay's offseason work.

"No, because he knows how to rush the passer and that's all he's going to do," Arians said. "He'll know where to line up. I don't want him getting bumped on the sideline or anything else."

Tuesday's news gives Tampa Bay hope that JPP will be back on the sideline, free to be bumped, sooner rather than later.

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