NOVEMEBER 18: Horn will remain on injured reserve for now, but Thomas has been activated, per a team announcement. The latter will have a large role to play immediately upon return since Hurst is out with a concussion. Thomas will aim to give Carolina a needed complementary option in the passing game late in the year with the jobs of several members of the organization potentially on the line.
NOVEMBER 13: The Panthers have been hit hard on the injury front this season, but a pair of reinforcements are on the way. The team announced on Monday that cornerback Jaycee Horn and tight end Ian Thomas have returned to practice.
Both players’ 21-day activation windows have been opened as a result. They must be activated within that span to avoid reverting to season-ending injured reserve. Horn has been eligible to return for some time now, but it was clear when he was initially placed on IR that a lengthy absence would be coming. A hamstring injury has kept the 23-year-old sidelined since Week 1.
Horn named remaining healthy as a key goal for his third season in Carolina, but injuries have remained a major factor in his young career. The former first-rounder was limited to just three games as a rookie, and he missed another four contests last year. After recording 53 tackles and three interceptions in 2022, though, his return will be a welcomed development for a Panther defense which, in his absence, has delivered a strong showing against the pass so far.
Thomas’ return will add depth to Carolina’s TE room, one which has been led by free agent addition Hayden Hurst. Thomas – who has missed the past four games due to a calf injury – showed promise as a rookie with 333 receiving yards, but he has yet to eclipse the 200-yard mark since then. The 27-year-old logged a career-low 24% snap share during his five games in 2023 prior to being placed on IR. Once back on the field, he will offer a complementary passing option as well as another contributor with respect to run blocking.
In anticipation of bringing Horn and Thomas back onto the 53-man roster, the Panthers also announced a number of other moves on Monday. Defensive back Matthias Farley and tight end Jordan Matthews have been let go, and they are now subject to waivers. Carolina also signed outside linebacker Eku Leota to the active roster since he had been designated a gameday elevation from the practice squad the maximum three times. The return of Horn and Thomas will leave the Panthers with four IR activations for the rest of the season.