It was a welcomed sight for the Carolina Panthers as middle linebacker Luke Kuechly returned to practice on Tuesday after clearing the last step in the concussion protocol. He met with an independent doctor who released from the protocol and he was back on the practice field Tuesday.
Kuechly suffered the concussion at the end of the first half against the Jacksonville Jaguars and has been recovering for the past four weeks. Even though he is back, the Panthers may ease him back into the flow of the game due to the lengthy layoff. As Max Henson notes, the Panthers plan to keep the star middle linebacker on a snap count for at least this week. Expect A.J. Klein to see a few more snaps at middle linebacker against the Seattle Seahawks and eventually work back into a rotation with Shaq Thompson at outside linebacker going forward.
The defense has been playing very well the first four weeks of the season but has not faced an offense like the Seahawks this year. The team leans heavily on the run and are expecting to have Marshawn Lynch back this week, according to reports. This will be the toughest challenge for a defense that ranks 10th overall in yards allowed per game. However having Luke Kuechly back, even in a limited fashion, will be a big boost as the Panthers try to win in Seattle for the first time in the organization's history.