By Ted Fleming
When the Panthers returned to work for the first time after they recorded their first three game winning streak since 2009, there might have been a little anticipation that a player or two, maybe more, would be chosen for the 2013 Pro Bowl.
Despite their record, a case could be made for Rookie of the Year candidate Luke Kuechly and potential comeback nominee Thomas Davis to make it. And if the selection committee was feeling really generous, team sack leaders Greg Hardy (11) and Charles Johnson (10.5) could have brought Carolina’s number to four.
Well, better luck next year because it was a case of none of the above. No Panthers player will be making the trip to Hawaii, at least at this point. One or more could be a late addition as alternates or as a replacement, as is usually the case when someone begs out for various reasons like injuries or that they simply do not want to go. Not want to go to Hawaii? It has happened.
The last time the Panthers were snubbed was in 2007. Last year Ryan Kalil, Steve Smith and Cam Newton represented the team, Newton took Eli Manning’s spot because the Giants QB was going to the Super Bowl. The closest anyone came this year was fullback Mike Tolbert, who finished second in the fan voting but former Panther Jerome Felton was taken from the Vikings.
The Kuechly situation is a curious one because he leads the NFL in tackles and has done so in his first NFL season. He was passed over in favor of the 49ers duo of NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis, two of nine San Francisco selections. Davis has come back from a third knee surgery to have arguably the best season of his eight year career.
Practice Notes: T Jordan Gross, TE Greg Olsen, WR Steve Smith, LB Thomas Davis, DT Dwan Edwards, DE Charles Johnson, DE Greg Hardy and RB DeAngelo Williams sat out Wednesday’s practice for rest and not injury related. C Geoff Hangartner (foot) and LB James Anderson (back) did not practice, RB Jonathan Stewart (ankle) was limited while WR Joe Adams (ankle), WR Brandon LaFell (toe) were full participants.
Seconds, anyone? No one could have thought it possible after Week 8 when they were 1-6 but with a win on Sunday against the Saints in New Orleans, the Panthers would be tied for second place in the NFC South. That might be considered a minor miracle but you have to remember that the Falcons have run away with the division and finishing as the runner-up with a 7-9 record still finishes out of the playoff consideration.
Other transactions: So much for not reaching last year’s injured reserve team mark. Head coach Ron Rivera confirmed that first year guard Amini Silatolu became the team’s 18th player to be placed on IR because of a dislocated wrist that will require surgery.
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Ted Fleming is a freelance writer covering all things Carolina Panthers. His work can be found on Examiner.com.