As pleased as Carolina Panthers right tackle Daryl Williams was about getting back to practice Wednesday, Trai Turner might have been happier.
Williams’ return from a high ankle sprain meant Turner could go back to his more natural position of right guard.
“He got a big smile on his face,” Williams said of Turner. “Just happy to be back inside, I guess.”
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Turner started three games at right tackle – his first time at the position since high school – after Williams was injured against Oakland on Nov. 27.
The 6-foot-3, 310-pound Turner, a Pro Bowl guard in 2015, doesn’t have the length to be an every-down tackle.
But Williams gave him high marks for his performance while filling in, and Panthers offensive coordinator Mike Shula said Turner did an admirable job.
“That just shows you how much of a football player he is and (how) athletic he is,” Shula said.
Turner’s NFL peers recognized Turner’s versatility. Turner told the Observer he was chosen as a Pro Bowl alternate -- at guard. A league source said Turner is a second alternate.
The Panthers have started four offensive line combinations this season. That will rise to five Saturday if Williams starts against the Atlanta Falcons, as expected.
As he took the athletic tape off both ankles following Wednesday’s practice, Williams said he felt good. That was music to Turner’s ears.
“I’m just happy he’s back. I’m happy he’s feeling good,” Turner said. “I’m glad to be back at guard. Let’s work.”