The Carolina Panthers will have their starting cornerbacks available Sunday at Jacksonville after Josh Norman passed the last test in the NFL’s concussion protocol.
An independent neurologist cleared Norman on Thursday, according to Panthers coach Ron Rivera.
Norman sustained the concussion last week during the first series at Pittsburgh. He practiced all week, but was not able to participate in live-contact drills.
Rivera had expressed optimism all week that Norman would be cleared.
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“Josh has been normal for quite a while,” Rivera said Friday. “It was just a matter of him having to go through the protocol.”
Center Ryan Kalil (knee) will start against the Jaguars, but will not play 100 percent of the snaps. Right tackle Mike Remmers will slide to center to spell Kalil, who sprained his left knee last month in the second exhibition against Miami.
“We’re going to be smart with this,” Rivera said. “We have a plan obviously. We’ll execute it accordingly.”
Defensive tackle Star Lotulelei (stress reaction in right foot) is the only starter who is listed out for the opener. Lotulelei hasn’t practiced in more than a month, so his status is not a surprise.
Reserve tight end Richie Brockel (shoulder) and backup left tackle Nate Chandler (knee) also are out.
The Panthers worked out a veteran defensive linemen Da’Quan Bowers and Kenrick Ellis this week “just in case” Lotulelei has a setback with his surgically repaired foot, Rivera said.
Rivera said Lotulelei remains on pace with his recovery and will be reevaluated next week.