CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Panthers left tackle Michael Oher has been ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons after developing concussion-related symptoms two days before the game.
Oher practiced fully on Wednesday and Thursday and the team is uncertain when the injury occurred. He didn’t feel well on Friday morning and was diagnosed with a concussion.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Friday it’s unclear who’ll take over for Oher at left tackle.
“When I came in, (head athletic trainer) Ryan Vermillion came to me and told me that Mike had come in and was complaining of symptoms,” Rivera said. “So he sat him down and did whatever the first steps of the protocol are and contacted the doctors. He came back and told me he’s in the protocol.”
Rivera said there is no way a player can pass the protocol in that amount of time and the team had to rule him out.
The most likely option for Sunday is moving right tackle Mike Remmers to the left side and starting second-year player Daryl Williams at right tackle. Another is starting Donald Hawkins at left tackle. Hawkins is listed as Oher’s primary backup on the depth chart.
“We’re going to talk about it. We practiced today, and we had a couple of guys taking reps on that left side,” Rivera said of the decision at left tackle. “The thing to decide is whether bringing one guy in is better than moving one guy and having to put another guy in? We’ll see.
“Coming at the end of the week is the big deal because you’ve game-planned already. But the nice thing is that our young guys get a lot of reps. It’s not like these guys haven’t been working on things.”
Oher, known for the movie about him called “The Blind Side,” has started every game at left tackle for Carolina since signing as a free agent in 2015. He played so well last year during the team’s Super Bowl season that the team gave him a contract extension through 2019.
Regardless of who starts at left tackle, Rivera said reserve guard Tyler Larsen would be active for the first time.
Running back Jonathan Stewart (hamstring) and defensive tackle Vernon Butler (ankle) also are out. Defensive end Charles Johnson (quad) is questionable but is expected to play.