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Panthers Coach Ron Rivera Says LB Luke Kuechly, WR Curtis Samuel Likely to Miss OTAs

Panthers head coach Ron Rivera told reporters Tuesday that veteran linebacker Luke Kuechly will sit out the entire offseason program and second-year wide receiver Curtis Samuel has no “timetable” for his return this spring according to Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer.

Kuechly is recovery from offseason surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder but is expected to be ready by training camp. The former first-round pick out of Boston College is the heart and soul of the Panthers defense but has been plagued by injuries, especially concussions, the past three seasons.

Samuel, the team’s second-round pick out of Ohio State last spring, needed surgery to repair a broken bone and ligament damage in his ankle last November. “I know they’ve gotten him running around a little bit,” Rivera said. “Not a lot of cutting and breaking right now. I think they’re just slowly working him back in that process.” His rookie season was pretty much of a wash as he was hurt more than he was healthy, appearing in nine games and catching only 15 passes for 115 yards and no touchdowns. The Panthers desperately need Samuel to step up opposite No.1 wideout Devin Funchess but he may struggle again in his second season as he will have to learn a new offense.

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