After signing a contract extension just before the start of training camp last season worth $21.6 million over three seasons, Carolina Panthers tackle Michael Oher played in just three games due to injury.
Following a Week 3 loss to the Vikings, Oher was placed in the league’s concussion protocol, and he did not play in another game. After sitting out the team’s organized team activities, which are voluntary, during the spring, Oher did report for the Panthers’ mandatory minicamp in June. Oher did not participate in the mandatory minicamp, however.
On Thursday it was reported by ESPN.com that Oher is expected to report when the Panthers begin training camp at the end of the month, but there remains the question of whether or not he has a future with the team.
Carolina signed left tackle Matt Kalil to a five-year deal in the offseason, and with Oher out of OTAs and mandatory minicamp Daryl Williams and Taylor Moton split the reps at right tackle. In mid-June, Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman said that the team’s priority was Oher the person, with football taking a back seat.
According to the Charlotte Observer, Oher first reported that he was experiencing concussion-like symptoms on Sept. 30, 2016, and as late as November there were still issues regarding sensitivity to light, vision, balance and movement. With Carolina signing Kalil to play left tackle and selecting the aforementioned Moton in the second round of this year’s NFL Draft, the team appears prepared for life without Oher on the field.