Tim Masthay said nothing was out of the ordinary Monday morning, when the veteran Green Bay Packers punter and his young challenger, Cody Mandell, reported for work.

"He was in meetings, and I lifted weights with him," Masthay said. "But I did not see him after that."

That's because, shortly before practice started in the early afternoon, Masthay and others learned Mandell was released by the team.

The decision came less than two weeks into training camp and before Green Bay plays its first preseason game, Thursday night at the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.

Why Mandell was let go early in camp wasn't disclosed Monday. Coach Mike McCarthy met with reporters before practice and before the team announced Mandell's release.

Masthay had little reaction to the news, but he viewed it as a vote of confidence from the likes of General Manager Ted Thompson, McCarthy and first-year special teams coordinator Ron Zook.

"But by no means do I take it as a, 'Hey, you're guaranteed to be [here],'" Masthay said. "I feel like I've still got about 25 days until preseason is over. I've got 25 days to keep working to improve, to keep working to perform. So that's my focus."

•Linebacker Clay Matthews returned to practice after being out a week because of knee soreness. McCarthy said Matthews' return to the field would be on a trial-and-error basis. Matthews said after practice he felt good, but he doesn't know whether he will play Thursday.


•The Browns are awaiting further medical tests on Joe Thomas, their Pro Bowl left offensive tackle who injured his right leg when massive rookie nose tackle Danny Shelton inadvertently rolled up on it during an 11-on-11 drill. Thomas, who never has missed a play in his eight-year NFL career, yelled as his leg was struck from behind by the 339-pound Shelton.

•Linebacker Lavonte David signed a five-year $50.25 contract extension with the Buccaneers. The fourth-year pro out of Nebraska is guaranteed $25.5 million. David is the only player in the league with 10 or more sacks and at least six interceptions over the past three seasons.

•Still unsure of the status of Tom Brady and with the preseason opener coming up, the Patriots released veteran quarterback Matt Flynn and signed Ryan Lindley to replace him as the team's third-stringer. Flynn signed with the Patriots on June 12. "We don't have forever here. The train's moving," coach Bill Belichick said.

•The former Dolphins offensive line coach implicated in the team's 2013 bullying scandal has filed a lawsuit against Ted Wells, the NFL's lead investigator into the case. Assistant coach Jim Turner was fired five days after Wells released a report on his investigation in early 2014. The suit was filed against Wells and his Delaware law firm, Paul Weiss. According to the suit, the defendants' false and misleading statements have caused Turner "significant psychological and emotional pain and suffering."

•Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith, one of 12 players in NFL history with 900 catches, says he will retire after this season — his 15th in the league.

•Eagles rookie cornerback JaCorey Shepherd has a torn ligament in his right knee that likely will end his season.

•The Chargers issued a stinging rebuke to the city of San Diego and San Diego County's plans for a new $1.1 billion stadium, making it look increasingly doubtful the long-running, contentious issue can be solved by City Hall's Sept. 11 deadline to have a deal in place to qualify for a January vote.