CHARLOTTE – Jared Allen will return from a one-game absence and start at right defensive end for the Panthers on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. A couple of his fellow defensive ends will help fill in for injured defensive tackle Dwan Edwards.
Allen, acquired from the Chicago Bears late last month, didn't travel with the Panthers for their Week 6 victory over the Seattle Seahawks but has recovered from a pinched nerve in his back and will be in the lineup for Sunday Night Football.
"He worked very hard to try to maintain his conditioning, so I don't think the one week off will hurt him," head coach Ron Rivera said Friday. "He had a real good week of building it back up, and today he just cut it loose. It was good to see."
Allen, the NFL's career sack leader among active players, was slowed by the injury in his Panthers debut in Week 4. What would Rivera like to see from Allen now that he's healthy?
"Thirty, thirty-five good snaps impacting and influencing the quarterback a few times," Rivera said, "and making a couple of plays behind the line of scrimmage, whether it's sacks, hitting the quarterback or tackles for loss."
Defensive ends Kony Ealy and Wes Horton are expected to get a few more snaps at defensive tackle with Edwards out because of an ankle injury suffered early in the Seattle game. Edwards is among four players – along with linebacker Shaq Thompson (knee), tight end Richie Brockel (hamstring) and offensive tackle Daryl Williams (knee) – who were ruled out after missing practice all week.
"You'll see Kony and Wes rotate in on passing downs," Rivera said. "We've done that anyway, but now with Dwan, you'll see them a few more times."
Linebacker A.J. Klein and cornerback Teddy Williams were cleared out of the concussion protocol late Thursday and are listed as probable after fully participating in practice Friday. Klein missed the Seattle game, while Williams suffered the injury on a special teams tackle versus the Seahawks.
View photos from the Panthers' week of practice leading up to their game versus the Eagles.