The Panthers have designated cornerback Eli Apple and wide receiver Keith Kirkwood to return from injured reserve, according to Joe Person of The Athletic (on Twitter). The club now has a three-week window to activate either player. If they are not activated in that span, they’ll be ineligible to return for the remainder of the year.
A former Giants first-round pick, Apple inked a one-year deal with the Panthers in May. At the time, he was thought to be on track for a starting role, especially since the Panthers waited until the fourth round before addressing their need at corner.
Without James Bradberry to lead the way, the Panthers weren’t left with much. Pro Football Focus graded none of Carolina’s incumbent corners higher than 89th at the position last season. Apple, meanwhile, was only 20 when he was drafted and he only just turned 25 over the summer, so there’s reason to believe that he can be a quality contributor when healthy.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.