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“Didn’t want to risk anything so we held him out,” head coach Ron Rivera said. “He went through all the walkthroughs and all the installations. But as far as practicing, we weren’t going to practice him today.
For the second consecutive week, linebacker Luke Kuechly will have to settle for providing moral support rather than run support.
Kuechly is among four Panthers who weren’t able to practice all week and have been ruled out for Sunday’s game at the Seahawks. Kuechly, who went in the concussion protocol after Carolina Panthers jersey authentic victory over New Orleans in Week 11, made the 10-day West Coast trip knowing he’d miss the first game in Oakland but holding out hope for the Seattle game.
“We are excited to have Luke healthy and cleared from the protocol,” head coach Ron Rivera said. “I know he is extremely motivated to get back on the field and help us win games. Whether he plays this week or not, I don’t know. We have to balance our enthusiasm with what’s best for Luke and the team long term.”
Kuechly suffered a concussion in Carolina’s Week 11 victory over New Orleans and he’s missed the last three games. Kuechly returned to practice last week.
By the time the cart was called, Kuechly was visibly distraught. Teammates gathered around him before he was taken to the locker room to be evaluated for a concussion. Kuechly missed three games with a concussion early last season.
“He was just telling us to keep fighting,” safety Kurt Coleman said before taking a long pause. “And that’s Luke. Luke is a fighter, and we fight for each other. We’re going to continue to fight for him.”
Tight end Greg Olsen is the Panthers’ Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Nominee for 2016. Olsen is one of 32 players, one from each NFL team, eligible to be selected for the only NFL award that recognizes a player for his community service as well as his excellence on the field. This is the second nomination for Olsen, who was also nominated for the award in 2015.
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A week after witnessing wide receiver Julio Jones rack up 300 yards of his own, Panthers tight end Greg Olsen did his best to put up similar numbers. He caught nine of the 13 passes quarterback Derek Anderson threw his way and amassed 181 yards, the most in his 10-year NFL career and the most ever for a Panthers tight end.
Not only did he set a new personal and team best; he also surpassed Kellen Winslow, Sr. for eighth all-time in tight end receiving yardage.
Olsen spoke about the injury Tuesday, when he returned to limited participation in practice after missing more than a week with a back injury. There’s no guarantee that Olsen will suit up when the Panthers host the New England Patriots on Friday in the all-important third preseason game, but there’s no noteworthy concern, either.
“No contact today. We’re trying to be smart with that to make sure we don’t have a recurrence,” head coach Ron Rivera said. “It’s one of those things where he’s gradually going to work himself back into it. We’re not in any hurry as far as he’s concerned.”
“Greg has a keen awareness and he’s talented,” offensive coordinator Mike Shula said. “Obviously moving forward we’re going to have to continue to spread the ball around because teams are going to try to not only lock in on him with double coverage, but also find different ways to do it.
“If everybody’s doing well in the running game with Stew and Cam and those guys and the fact that there’s Kelvin and Ted and Devin … hopefully that’s something where they can’t lock in on Greg.”
Take a look back at some of Olsen’s top moments so far this season.