Sep 19, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA;  Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) comes on to the field before the game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers: Christian McCaffrey unlikely to play in preseason

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey likely won’t play in any preseason games to try to keep him healthy for the 2022 season, coach Matt Rhule said Tuesday.

The Panthers are seeking to find the magic again with McCaffrey, who has been riddled with injuries since his All-Pro season of 2019.

He didn’t play in the preseason in 2021, either, and Rhule said the team is going to have to come up with a wise approach for McCaffrey for the whole season.

“I would hold him out of all the preseason games again,” Rhule said following Tuesday’s voluntary organized team activities. “I think he’s had enough hits on his body. But I think, just as we move forward, we’re gonna have a little bit of a different strategy practice-wise with him.”

McCaffrey played 91 percent of the team’s offensive snaps in 2018.

In 2019, McCaffrey played 93 percent of the Panthers’ offensive snaps and led the NFL with 2,392 yards from scrimmage. Of them, 1,387 were rushing yards, and he ran for 15 touchdowns.

He added 116 catches for 1,005 yards and four touchdowns.

After that season, McCaffrey signed a four-year, $64 million contract extension. And because of a variety of injuries, he’s played in just 10 of 33 games over two seasons, totaling 1,159 yards from scrimmage and eight touchdowns.

McCaffrey, who turns 26 next month, said Tuesday that he has sought the advice of Marshall Faulk, one of only three players — Roger Craig the other — to tally at least 1,000 receiving and 1,000 rushing yards in the same season.

“Just listening to what he had to say and the different things that he did in the offseason at different points,” McCaffrey said of his conversations with Faulk. “Injuries or not, sometimes you have to change your offseason and your approach.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 21, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) with the ball as Washington Football Team outside linebacker Cole Holcomb (55) defends in the first quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Panthers receiving trade calls about Christian McCaffrey

The Carolina Panthers have fielded calls from multiple teams inquiring about the availability of star running back Christian McCaffrey, CBS Sports and ESPN reported.

The Panthers were not actively shopping McCaffrey, but they told teams they would want a first-round draft pick and a player in return, per the reports.

Carolina selected McCaffrey with the eighth overall pick in the 2017 draft and rewarded him with a four-year, $64 million contract extension in April 2020.

But injuries slowed down the dynamic offensive weapon ever since signing that extension. McCaffrey ended each of the past two seasons on injured reserve and played in just 10 total games due to ankle, shoulder and hamstring injuries in the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

In five seasons with the Panthers, McCaffrey has played 58 games (52 starts), ran for 3,587 yards and 30 touchdowns and caught 357 passes for 3,015 yards and 17 more touchdowns. He was an All-Pro selection and placed third in voting for Offensive Player of the Year in 2019, when he led the NFL with 2,392 yards from scrimmage and 19 total touchdowns.

–Field Level Media

Dec 13, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (3) against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: OBJ, Christian McCaffrey test positive for COVID-19

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey have tested positive for COVID-19, multiple media outlets reported Tuesday.

Also on Tuesday, the Cleveland Browns were placed in enhanced COVID-19 mitigation protocols after putting eight players — six from the active roster — on the reserve/COVID-19 list. The players are wide receiver Jarvis Landry, offensive tackle Jedrick Wills Jr., tight end Austin Hooper, guard Wyatt Teller, defensive end Takkarist McKinley, guard Drew Forbes, wide receiver JoJo Natson (practice squad) and tight end Ross Travis (practice squad).

Kansas City Chiefs’ Pro Bowl defensive tackle Chris Jones was placed in COVID-19 protocols, meaning he likely will be unable to play Thursday night in an AFC West showdown against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Beckham would be the sixth Rams’ player to be added to the reserve/COVID-19 list, joining running back Darrell Henderson, tight end Tyler Higbee, cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey and Dont’e Deayon as well as right tackle Rob Havenstein.

Beckham, 29, reeled in his third touchdown pass in as many games during Los Angeles’ 30-23 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Monday night. The three-time Pro Bowl selection had six catches for 77 yards to help the Rams (9-4) record their second straight victory.

Beckham has 32 receptions for 436 yards with three touchdowns this season in 10 games split between the Cleveland Browns and Rams.

McCaffrey, who was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, already has been ruled out for the season with an ankle injury.

McCaffrey, 25, finished the season with 442 yards on 99 carries to go with 343 yards on 37 receptions. He scored one rushing and one receiving touchdown each.

Jones, 27, has played in 11 games (all starts) on the season. He has 20 tackles (six for loss), seven sacks and 14 quarterback hits. He was a Pro Bowl selection each of the past two seasons.

–Field Level Media

Nov 21, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers cornerback Donte Jackson (26) during the second half against the Washington Football Team at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers CB Donte Jackson (groin) out for season

The Carolina Panthers placed cornerback Donte Jackson on injured reserve Tuesday, ending his season.

The move marks the second straight day that the Panthers shuffled a starter to season-ending injured reserve. They placed star running back Christian McCaffrey on injured reserve Monday with an ailing ankle.

Jackson, 26, sustained a groin injury during Carolina’s 33-10 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. An MRI the following day revealed the extent of the injury for Jackson, who will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

Jackson recorded 61 tackles, two interceptions and a forced fumble in 12 games this season for the Panthers, who also have fellow cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore, A.J. Bouye, Rashaan Melvin, C.J. Henderson and Keith Taylor Jr. on the roster.

Also on Tuesday, the Panthers activated rookie guard Deonte Brown. He had been designated to return from injured reserve after being sidelined with a knee issue.

–Field Level Media

Nov 21, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) reacts in the first quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey (ankle) shut down for season

Carolina Panthers All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey will miss the rest of the season after suffering an ankle injury in Sunday’s 33-10 loss at Miami.

The team did not specify the exact injury, and its website said only it was “severe enough to place him on injured reserve.” He left the stadium Sunday in a walking boot.

The injury occurred in the first half against the Dolphins, and McCaffrey finished the game with 10 carries and 35 yards.

McCaffrey, 25, played the first three games of the season, missed the next five with a hamstring injury, then appeared in the past four. He will finish the 2021 season with 442 yards on 99 carries to go with 343 yards on 37 receptions. He scored one rushing and one receiving touchdown each.

Injuries have severely hampered McCaffrey since 2019, when he led the league with 2,392 yards from scrimmage and 19 touchdowns.

The Panthers selected him No. 8 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft, and he appeared in all 48 games over his first three seasons in the league. In 2020, an ankle sprain and shoulder injury limited him to just three games.

McCaffrey signed a four-year, $64 million contract extension through the 2025 season in April 2020.

The Panthers (5-7) have a bye this week and will host the Atlanta Falcons on Dec. 12. The Falcons currently are 5-6 and will play the NFC South-leading Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-3) on Sunday.

–Field Level Media

Sep 19, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA;  Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold (14) hands the ball off to running back Christian McCaffrey (22) in the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers activate Christian McCaffrey; Sam Darnold clears protocol

The Carolina Panthers activated star running back Christian McCaffrey from injured reserve on Saturday.

Also on Saturday, Carolina quarterback Sam Darnold was cleared from concussion protocol.

Darnold, who is also nursing a shoulder injury, is expected to be a game-time decision to start Sunday’s contest against the New England Patriots (4-4).

P.J. Walker would start for the Panthers (4-4) if Darnold is unable to play.

McCaffrey was designated to return from injured reserve on Wednesday, thereby activating a 21-day window for the club to activate him or lose him for the rest of the season.

McCaffrey has been sidelined with a hamstring injury since Carolina’s 24-9 victory over the Houston Texans on Sept. 23. He resumed practicing in a limited capacity before the Panthers elected to place him on injured reserve on Oct. 16.

An All-Pro in 2019, McCaffrey has 52 carries for 201 yards and a touchdown to go along with 16 receptions for 163 yards in three games this season. He played only three games in 2020 due to a high ankle sprain and a shoulder injury.

Darnold was placed in concussion protocol after he was injured on a rush during the fourth quarter of Carolina’s 19-13 victory over the Atlanta Falcons last Sunday.

Darnold completed 13 of 24 passes for 129 yards and rushed eight times for 66 yards prior to the injury. The 24-year-old has passed for 1,814 yards, seven touchdowns and eight interceptions this season.

–Field Level Media

Sep 23, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) prepares to walk onto the field before the game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers designate RB Christian McCaffrey to return from IR

The Carolina Panthers designated star running back Christian McCaffrey to return from injured reserve on Wednesday.

The Panthers did the same in regard to punter Joseph Charlton. The moves start the 21-day clock for them to begin practicing as they bid to return from their respective injuries.

McCaffrey has been sidelined with a hamstring injury since Carolina’s 24-9 victory over the Houston Texans on Sept. 23. He resumed practicing in a limited capacity before the Panthers elected to place him on injured reserve on Oct. 16.

An All-Pro, McCaffrey has 52 carries for 201 yards and a touchdown to go along with 16 receptions for 163 yards in three games this season. He played only three games in 2020 due to a high ankle sprain and a shoulder injury.

Charlton, who is nursing an ailing back, was placed on injured reserve on Oct. 14.

Lachlan Edwards punted last week and could be elevated from the practice squad again should Charlton be unable to play for the Panthers (4-4) against the visiting New England Patriots (4-4) on Sunday.

–Field Level Media

Sep 19, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) pushes off a New Orleans Saints defender during the second half at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers coach hopeful Christian McCaffrey practices Wednesday

Carolina Panthers coach Matt Rhule said Monday he’s hopeful running back Christian McCaffrey is nearing a return from his hamstring injury.

“Hopefully we get Christian back soon. Hopefully, it’s this week. If not this week, then next week,” Rhule said. “Obviously, he’s one of the best players in football. He brings something.”

McCaffrey has been sidelined since Carolina’s 24-9 victory over the Houston Texans on Sept. 23. He resumed practicing in a limited capacity before the Panthers elected to place him on injured reserve on Oct. 16.

Should McCaffrey practice on Wednesday, that would begin a 21-day window for returning from injured reserve.

“Yeah, he’ll practice Wednesday, I’m hoping,” Rhule said. “If he practices on Wednesday and does well, then we’ll see how he is on Thursday and just kind of ramp him up toward the game. He hasn’t practiced yet, so there’s always a return-to-play component to it. But no one works harder than Christian McCaffrey. When he comes back, he’ll be in shape and ready to go. So hopefully we have him. We’ll know more as the week goes on.”

An All-Pro, McCaffrey has 52 carries for 201 yards and a touchdown to go along with 16 receptions for 163 yards in three games this season. He played only three games in 2020 due to a high ankle sprain and a shoulder injury.

–Field Level Media

Sep 19, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA;  Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) comes on to the field before the game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey (hamstring) out vs. Vikings

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey has been ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings because of a lingering hamstring injury, the team announced Friday.

McCaffrey was a limited participant in Wednesday’s practice and did not practice Thursday or Friday for the Panthers (3-2).

McCaffrey registered limited practices last week as he tries to work his way back from the injury he sustained during Carolina’s 24-9 victory over the Houston Texans on Sept. 23.

An All-Pro, McCaffrey, 25, has 52 carries for 201 yards and a touchdown to go along with 16 receptions for 163 yards in three games this season. He played only three games in 2020 due to a high ankle sprain and a shoulder injury.

Rookie Chuba Hubbard has been starting in his absence and ran for 101 yards last week against the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Panthers also said linebackers Shaq Thompson (foot) and Kamal Martin (concussion) won’t play Sunday.

For the Vikings (2-3), tight end Ben Ellefson (knee) and defensive tackle Michael Pierce (elbow) are out.

–Field Level Media

Sep 23, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) stretches before the game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Christian McCaffrey (hamstring) misses practice

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey did not practice Thursday, dousing optimism that he’ll be able to return this Sunday from a hamstring injury.

McCaffrey was a limited participant in Wednesday’s practice, with Panthers head coach Matt Rhule saying the All-Pro running back was 50-50 to play Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings (2-3). Rhule added McCaffrey’s availability was dependent on how his hamstring responded each day.

Rhule doesn’t speak with the media on Thursdays.

“We come in after every game, and you don’t know if this guy’s going to play or how much this guy is going to be able to go. It’s part of the profession,” offensive coordinator Joe Brady said Thursday. “We have to be ready, and everybody has to be ready, and we have to be ready for certain people to be down.”

McCaffrey registered limited practices last week as he works his way back from the injury he sustained during Carolina’s 24-9 victory over the Houston Texans on Sept. 23.

McCaffrey, 25, has 52 carries for 201 yards and a touchdown to go along with 16 receptions for 163 yards in three games this season. He played only three games in 2020 due to a high ankle sprain and a shoulder injury.

Shaq Thompson didn’t practice but was at practice without a walking boot after suffering a foot injury in Week 4 against Dallas. He will miss his second consecutive game Sunday.

The Panthers are 3-2 but have lost two straight.

–Field Level Media