CHARLOTTE – Offensive tackle Michael Oher has been in the NFL's concussion protocol for a long time now, but he is showing some encouraging signs of progress.
"He looks great, he sounds great, but he's still in the protocol," general manager Dave Gettleman said. "He's working out five days a week. He's working his fanny off. He's doing NFL workouts. He's fully engaged in that weight room."
Oher was placed in the concussion protocol two days before the Panthers' Week 4 game at the Atlanta Falcons on October 2 and ended up sitting out the final 13 games of the season. He was inactive for seven games as the team held out hope he'd return before spending the final six games on injured reserve.
Oher started all 16 games at left tackle during his first season with the Panthers in 2015. Carolina recently lost Mike Remmers – who shifted from the right side into Oher's spot – in free agency but brought in left tackle Matt Kalil via free agency.
Gettleman isn't willing to address specific questions about Oher's situation, among them whether the team is actively trying to get him cleared from the protocol given that Carolina is still more than five months from opening the regular season.
"He's doing NFL workouts. His workouts are not for the faint of heart," Gettleman said. "That's what I can tell you."