The game catches up to Gilbert

Gilbert is expected to be used sparingly on Sunday against Baltimore.

Charlotte, N.C.-  While 32 years old, by normal standards, is not considered "old", Sean Gilbert would disagree with that statement. The defensive tackle, acknowledged Wednesday that professional football is taking a toll on his body.

The injury is officially listed as tendonitis of the knee. However, Gilbert calls it something else. "I call it 32 (years old) and about 2,000 reps," Gilbert said. "It's like tires."

Gilbert, who led the Panthers defensive line in tackles in 1998, 1999, and 2000, feels his treads gradually wearing thinner. With him being the second-highest paid player on the Panthers' roster, there is the possibility that he may reduced to a part-time role.

"With every player, it gets to this point," Gilbert said. "It's just a matter of how you deal with it. It's humbling. You've got to step back and know that you can't play the game forever. As much as you want to and you want to be in it and be a part of it, that's the way the game goes."

Gilbert's master plan is to continue to be on the field as much as possible. He is not likely to practice to a great extent this season, but this will allow the Panthers to have him good to go on game days. He is not expected to be used much on Sunday against the Ravens.  "It just may be age and football reps. You get enough of them and eventually, over time, the body wears down. We'll see in the course of the year, how much is in there."

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