At the outset of the offseason there was considerable speculation whether or not the Carolina Panthers would unload at least one of their running backs.
They did not and maybe depth is a good thing right about now. That is because coach Ron Rivera tells Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer that Jonathan Stewart, maybe the back the team likes the most, might not be ready at the outset of training camp.
Stewart underwent surgery on both ankles this offseason and while Rivera says he is “progressing well,” he might not be set in time for the start of camp. That’s not a problem for Carolina provided the veteran doesn’t suffer a setback when he eventually does get on the field.
Stewart will be in the mix with DeAngelo Williams and to a lesser extent fullback Mike Tolbert. It will be interesting to see if new offensive coordinator Mike Shula puts a greater emphasis on the running attack, one former general manager Marty Hurney certainly made a priority when he signed both Stewart and Williams to large contracts.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune