Report: Panthers LB Luke Kuechly cleared to practice

Luke Kuechly hasn't played since suffering a concussion in week 1, but appears ready to play on Sunday for the 4-0 Panthers against the Seahawks in a statement game.
Phil Sears/USA TODAY Sports

By David Kenyon

The Carolina Panthers have been without superstar linebacker Luke Kuechly for three games because of a concussion, but that’s about to change.

According to Jonathan Jones of The Charlotte Observer, “an independent doctor” has cleared the Boston College product from “concussion protocol,” who will return to practice at a perfect moment for the 4-0 Panthers.

Kuechly, who has racked up more than 150 tackles in each of his first three years, exited during the season opener. Nevertheless, Carolina has taken advantage of a weak early-season schedule—opponents have a combined 5-15 record—and jumped out to a 4-0 start.

But why is it a perfect moment? Well, the Panthers are preparing for a statement game against the Seattle Seahawks, who desperately need a victory to avoid dropping another game.

It seems a majority of NFL fans aren’t yet sold on Carolina, who despite lacking a reliable wide receiver and standout running back have amassed the league’s sixth-best scoring offense behind quarterback Cam Newton. Plus, the Panthers defense has surrendered the fourth-fewest points per game (17.8) even without their All-Pro linebacker.

The 4:05 p.m. ET kickoff on Sunday will give Kuechly and Co. a chance to prove Carolina is for real—and perhaps more importantly, potentially put more distance between itself and Seattle in the Wild Card standings.

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