Inside the Panthers

Has there been a change in the status of Panthers OT Michael Oher?

The Carolina Panthers remain optimistic tackle Michael Oher, right, can return in 2017 after a concussion cost him most of the 2016 season, but GM Dave Gettleman offered little in terms of an update on Friday.
The Carolina Panthers remain optimistic tackle Michael Oher, right, can return in 2017 after a concussion cost him most of the 2016 season, but GM Dave Gettleman offered little in terms of an update on Friday. AP

Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman remains optimistic about the status of Michael Oher, but declined to say whether the presumptive starter at right tackle has been participating in the offseason program that began this week.

“We’re in OTAs right now and it’s voluntary and I don’t take attendance, so I’m not going to reply to that,” Gettleman said Friday during a pre-draft press conference.

Gettleman’s reluctance to discuss Oher’s involvement – or lack thereof – was a marked contrast from his comments about Oher last month. Meeting with reporters in March, Gettleman said Oher had been working out five days a week while “fully engaged in the weight room and sweating his butt off.”

Oher, 30, was still in the concussion protocol in late March, six months after first reporting symptoms before a Week 4 game at Atlanta.

The Panthers signed free agent Matt Kalil to a five-year, $55.5 million contract in March to be the starting left tackle. The plan was to slide Oher to the right side, where he has experience starting for Baltimore and Tennessee.

Gettleman was not asked Friday whether Oher is still in the concussion protocol. But he said his optimistic stance on Oher’s status for 2017 has not changed.

If Gettleman wants to take a tackle in the draft, he’ll be doing so from a group that is considered weak and does not include a top-10 prospect. The Panthers have the No. 8 pick, but could look to add a tackle later in the draft.

Joseph Person: 704-358-5123, @josephperson

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