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Taylor Mays talks about painful labrum tear; Return to football

Taylor Mays tore his shoulder labrum midway through the 2013 season, and the Bengals are awaiting his return to the field after a painful recovery process.

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Andy Lyons

The Cincinnati Bengals make it a point to re-sign all of their backups who had a positive impact in the previous season. Taylor Mays struggled to do that for the majority of his career, but after entering training camp last year on the roster bubble as a safety, Mike Zimmer began playing him at linebacker as well.

The results were very good as Mays split time between those two spots, and he even played seldomly at cornerback. Needless to say, he became the Swiss Army knife of the defense. His season ended prematurely though, as a torn shoulder labrum cost him the second-half of the 2013 season.

The Bengals eventually would re-sign him this offseason, but he's still dealing with rehabbing from the surgery on his shoulder to repair the tear.

"The hardest part was I tore it where the biceps tendon attaches, so in my rehab process, they were like, 'No, you can't do bicep curls,'" Mays told USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday. "As a guy with meathead tendencies, not being able to do bicep curls – that was rough."

Mays went on to say the labrum was torn in two places, and doctors couldn't get the shoulder back into place for about 90 minutes.

"The longer it's out, the harder it is," said Mays. "I know guys can play with (a torn labrum), but I think it was just the way it tore didn't really make (rehab an option). It just was the best decision for me to get it fixed."

Mays said that his shoulder was about "90 percent healed", and that he will be in Cincinnati for the start of the team's offseason workout program, which opens next week. He'll likely remain in that hybrid LB/S role ion 2014, with the majority of his snaps coming at LB.