NFL Wire News

Panthers LB Kuechly expected to return vs. Seahawks


The Sports Xchange

CHARLOTTE — As of Monday afternoon, Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly was still in the NFL’s concussion protocol, but the hope is he’ll be cleared to practice on Tuesday.

Coach Ron Rivera warned last week that when Kuechly returns, he may not play every snap right away. Even so, if the Panthers are going to snap their five-game losing streak in their series with Seattle, some of Kuechly is better than none.

“It’ll be tough from the standpoint of wanting to come out because all great players think they can always help the team. But we’ve got to look at the big picture here and be realistic,” defensive coordinator Sean McDermott said.

“We’ve got four good days of practice on tap and we’ll see how his conditioning is. Luke’s a highly conditioned athlete. He’s been staying involved the whole way, or as much as he could have. And he had a bye week. We’ll just take it one day at a time.”

–The Seahawks have blown three fourth-quarter leads, and if not for safety Kam Chancellor’s hustle to force a Calvin Johnson fumble at the goal line against the Lions, it would be four.

To most, the Seahawks don’t look as scary as they have been. But that group doesn’t include Mike Shula.

“In my opinion they’re as good or better,” the Panthers’ offensive coordinator said. “(Sunday) was a tough day. Cincinnati just hung in there. If you turned the game off at the start of the fourth quarter, you’re saying, ‘That’s as good a defense as you’ve seen play,’ especially against Cincinnati the way they’ve been moving it. Then Cincinnati made some plays.”

But others have made plays against Seattle, too. And they’ve done it late. The Seahawks have allowed 42 fourth-quarter points through five games. In last year’s regular season, they gave up 67.

–Wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery (high-ankle sprain) is expected to return to practice Tuesday after missing the past two games.

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