Ron Rivera said earlier this month he expects Michael Oher to be back with the Panthers next season, but the recently re-signed left tackle has not yet been completely cleared from the concussion that sidelined him for most of the 2016 season, Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Oberserver reports. Oher missed 13 games last season and has dealt with concussion trouble for more than four months.
Rivera did not know when Oher suffered the concussion, but Jones reports the setback likely occurred before the Panthers’ Week 3 Vikings tilt — the most recent game in which Oher played. GM Dave Gettleman said recently he had not spoken to Oher in a bit and was going to give him some time. The Panthers’ left tackle signed a three-year extension last summer, but Gettleman said he plans to investigate the position this offseason. Mike Remmers is a free agent as well, and Carolina doesn’t have any much depth here, so an Oher return is crucial. He will turn 31 in May.
Here’s more from the NFC.
- A Julius Peppers-Panthers reunion makes sense for the 37-year-old North Carolinian as his career winds down, Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer writes. The outside linebacker who played as a 4-3 end in Carolina is a UFA. He spent four seasons with the Bears and three with the Packers, initially going to Chicago after the Panthers offered to make him the league’s highest-paid defender in 2010. The Panthers have ends Mario Addison and Charles Johnson looming as UFAs.
- The Redskins‘ promotion of Aubrey Pleasant from assistant secondary coach to secondary coach has yet to be completed, Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union notes. Washington’s talks with Pleasant are “at a standstill” after the team offered him the position, in a somewhat strange status for a defensive backs job. The Redskins still want to make Pleaseant its DBs boss after firing Perry Fewell. However, the Rams remain interested in Pleasant as well. Los Angeles already hired Samson Brown from the Broncos, but the former assistant secondary coach under Wade Phillips in Denver doesn’t appear to have a definitive role yet.
- Regarding the top of the Redskins’ defensive hierarchy, one reason Joe Barry may have been ousted was due to some in the organization preferring he operate a more aggressive defense, John Keim of ESPN.com writes. However, a source told Keim he doesn’t consider new Washington DC Greg Manusky to be particularly aggressive. The newly promoted assistant promised to use an attacking style, though. Manusky’s Colts defenses did average more blitzes per season than Barry’s two in Washington did, Keim notes.
- Should Pleasant join the Rams, he would be working with Don Shula’s grandson. The Rams plan to hire Chris Shula to work on Phillips’ defensive staff in Los Angeles, Alex Marvez of the Sporting News tweets. Chris Shula worked as a Chargers quality control coach the past two seasons. Prior to that, he served as a college defensive assistant. Shula played college football with Sean McVay.