Panthers receiver Curtis Samuel “not in shape yet”

When the Carolina Panthers drafted Curtis Samuel in the second round of the 2017 NFL draft, hopes were high that they had found their next great deep threat. A void was left by the departure of Ted Ginn that needed to be filled. Samuel’s skill set seemed to fit the bill nicely. Then, a set back.

Samuel has been unable to stay on the practice field for any extended amount of time ever since rookie camp. Nagged by hamstring pulls, Samuel has been limited to “mental reps” for the vast majority of his time as a Carolina Panthers receiver. Helpful to a point, but without everyday reps a toll is taken on muscle memory and overall level of fitness.

Apparently, this is the case with Curtis Samuel, who recently addressed the issue.

“Just getting back out there and running around a little bit, I can tell you I am not in (football) shape yet,” Samuel said. “But it’s coming soon.”

carolina panthers curtis samuel

With the season opener in San Francisco still two weeks away, Samuel still can make great strides in getting back in game shape. If that will include playing in the final preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers remains to be seen.

On one hand, the rookie receiver could surely benefit from as much live action game play as he can possibly get. On the other hand, the Carolina Panthers may not want to test his hamstring fully just yet. Hamstring issues have been known to linger into the NFL season, as they did for Odell Beckham Jr during his rookie year. Beckham missed the first four games of the Giants season that year. The Carolina Panthers will need Curtis Samuel much sooner.

The Panthers will likely take things slow with Samuel and limit his play on Thursday night. In my opinion, they won’t need Samuel in San Francisco for week one. They likely won’t need him in week two against the Buffalo Bills. But when the New Orleans Saints come to town in week three, Samuel needs to be ready.

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Jeremy Igo is owner of Carolina Huddle. Based in Charlotte, he has covered the Carolina Panthers for over a decade.