Carolina Panthers Rumors: Josh Norman Contract Hurts Charles Tillman Return as Jonathan Stewart, Ted Ginn Jr Healthy for Seattle Seahawks Game

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Jan 12, 2016 12:02 PM EST
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Josh Norman
Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman celebrates an interception in 2015."

The Carolina Panthers are returning to the field to prepare for the upcoming game against the Seattle Seahawks and they expect to have a full roster at their hands. The Panthers have been dealing with some injuries especially on offense, but the week off has apparently done players a lot of good as both Jonathan Stewart and Ted Ginn Jr expect to be active in the divisional round of the playoffs.

The Panthers have been waiting for news on Stewart as the healing from a foot sprain took longer than expected. The running back has been out since Week 16 having not even practiced with the injury. However, the Charlotte Observer is reporting that Stewart plans on practicing Wednesday after having done light running on the injured foot. That means he is expected to be on the field against Seattle which is good news for the offense considering head coach Ron Rivera told ESPN that Fozzy Whittaker will not be active for the game. That means Cameron Artis-Payne will be the backup to Stewart as he nabbed his first touchdown in Week 17.

The other question mark for the Panthers was Ginn who suffered a knee injury against the Atlanta Falcons and was held out of Week 17 play. The receiver has been a big reason the Panthers have survived without Kelvin Benjamin as he racked up 10 touchdowns on the year while being a big-play threat for Newton to work with. Ginn has returned to the field for practice and Rivera feels comfortable letting him play.

"With Teddy it's one of those things where he'll build up to it and see how feels,'' Rivera said, via ESPN.com. "He's a sprinter. He's a runner. As he starts going again we've got to be smart and judicious and get him to the point he's confident and comfortable with it and get him rolling.''

One player the team will be without is Charles Tillman who tore his ACL. The cornerback will not be on the field, but plans to play cheerleader to his teammates. With Tillman out, Josh Norman will have all the pressure on him. The injury to Tillman comes at the wrong time for the Panthers. With Norman set to be a free agent, the chances the Panthers bring back both players back is slim. Tillman is trying to decide about playing a 14th season in the league. Norman wants to be paid like the top cornerbacks in the league. Tillman told the media he has not yet started to think about his future.

"Right now, my whole goal is rehab,'' said Tillman, via ESPN.com. "Once I'm healthy, then you make that decision. The group of men, the character that we have, I'm a part of that. I know these guys have my back and that they're going to do everything within their power so that we can continue to keep winning and ultimately win a Super Bowl.''

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