Carolina Panthers

Panthers’ Mike Tolbert feels like it’s 2013 (when he made Pro Bowl)

Carolina Panthers fullback Mike Tolbert, who was hampered by injury in 2014, says he’s feeling like he did at the end of the 2013 season, when he made the Pro Bowl.
Carolina Panthers fullback Mike Tolbert, who was hampered by injury in 2014, says he’s feeling like he did at the end of the 2013 season, when he made the Pro Bowl. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Panthers fullback Mike Tolbert feels like he’s back in his Pro Bowl form from 2013 even if his early preseason play isn’t reflecting it.

Tolbert has three carries for 6 yards through two exhibitions, including getting stopped on two tries inside the 2 last week against the Dolphins.

“Absolutely,” Tolbert said when asked if he felt like the player that went to the Pro Bowl in 2013. “Y’all don’t see me? Looking like a chiseled, Greek god right now. I feel great man. Ready to ride.”

The 5-foot-9, 250-pound Tolbert has been a versatile weapon in Carolina’s backfield. But last year he suffered a hairline fracture in his right leg and was placed on temporary IR. His 2.1-yards-per-rush last season was the lowest in his seven-year career.

Tolbert had 6 yards on a draw play in the first quarter against Miami on third down. The next time he got the ball he was stopped for a 1-yard gain at the 1. On the next play he lost a yard. Carolina would turn the ball over on downs after not getting into the end zone.

Tolbert chalked up the red zone woes to miscommunication and said that’s why they play the preseason.

He promised Wednesday he’s back to where he was at the end of the 2013 season.

“I’m already there,” he said. “Just got to stay healthy, continue to take care of my body as I have the past year and just play ball. Do what I need to do to help my team win.”

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