After the Charlotte Touchdown Club’s annual Panthers kickoff luncheon Friday, injured center Ryan Kalil was asked about his status for Week 1 at Jacksonville.
Kalil was standing next to quarterback Cam Newton, who missed last year’s opener with cracked ribs. Kalil didn’t miss the chance to zing his quarterback.
“Some guys milk injuries and miss a couple games at the beginning,” Kalil said. “Other guys, they tough it out for the betterment of the team.”
Kalil was joking, but he turned serious a minute later when asked if he was confident he could play against the Jaguars despite his sprained left knee.
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“Absolutely,” Kalil said. “It’s my job to be out there Week 1.”
Kalil has been sidelined since Aug. 22 when a lineman rolled on the back of his leg during the first half of an exhibition win against Miami. He hasn’t been at practice since and sat out the final two exhibition games.
Backup center Brian Folkerts injured his ankle in the third exhibition against New England, forcing the Panthers to move right tackle Mike Remmers to center Thursday in the preseason finale at Pittsburgh.
Kalil, a four-time Pro Bowler, isn’t sure whether he’ll practice next week.
“We’re still rehabbing so we’ll see what happens,” he said.
But he was definitive on his status for the game – joking aside.
“I’ll be there with the guys,” Kalil said. “That’s the plan.”