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October 19, 2011

Panthers place Jeff Otah on IR

Jeff Otah, the Panthers' oft-injured right tackle, is being shut down for the rest of the season with a left knee injury that continues to bother him following two surgeries.

Otah is being placed on injured reserve today. Otah, a first-round draft pick in 2008, has played in a total of four games the past two seasons.

“He's worked hard. He's just never been able to get over the hump,” Panthers general manager Marty Hurney said. “Then he's had concurrent issues. He's been listed as questionable the last two weeks with a back injury.

“We met with Jeff over the last couple of days and decided that the best thing to do was to put him on IR so he could concentrate on strengthening the knee and essentially taking an 11-week loss for long-term, future gain.”

The Panthers signed offensive lineman Reggie Wells, who was with the team earlier this season. Undrafted rookie Byron Bell started in place of Otah twice this season and is expected to be first on the depth chart.

Left guard Travelle Wharton has starting experience at tackle, as does Wells.

Otah tore the meniscus in his left knee against New England on Dec. 13, 2009, and missed the final three games. He had a second surgery on the knee during training camp last season and was only expected to miss a few weeks, former coach John Fox said at the time.

Otah ended up missing the entire surgery.

Hurney said the 6-6, 330-pound Otah will not require a third surgery – just rest and rehabilitation.

“There's no recipe on how long it takes for an injury to come back, especially a knee injury to a person of Jeff's size and a big offensive tackle. Every individual, every injury is different. So I think it's hard to go into length of time,” Hurney said.

Hurney said not being able to rehab at the team's facility during the lockout also might have affected Otah's recovery. But Hurney said he thinks the long-term outlook for Otah, 25, remains positive.

“I think we're confident and I think he's confident that he can work and get it strong, and the future will be bright.”

--Joseph Person

Posted by Observer Sports on October 19, 2011 at 12:07 PM | Permalink


Very disappointing. I'm sure "fans" will bash Jeff about this. But I'm sure no one is more disappointed than he is. Hope he comes back strong.

Posted by: PantherHead | Oct 19, 2011 12:14:17 PM

What another waste of a draft pick. Can't get heathly because he's a fat tub of goo. Of course he has knee and back problems. Most fat people do. There's a difference between a big lineman and a fat one. Jeff needs to be enlightened of the difference.

Posted by: Fatso | Oct 19, 2011 1:03:10 PM

Anyway we can convert a 'bright future' into some draft picks? What's the exchange rate for promising linemen often on the sideline?

Posted by: Alan | Oct 19, 2011 1:16:12 PM

take some advil and get out on the field! Otah has no heart and passion for the game!

Posted by: joe cool | Oct 19, 2011 1:17:16 PM

Hey I have figured out the issue!!
"Otah ended up missing the entire surgery."

He missed the surgery! No wonder it still hurts!


Posted by: Patrick | Oct 19, 2011 1:31:20 PM

This is disappointing. I see the trolls have already made their way out of their holes. What NFL team does "Joe Cool" play for? And yeah, "Fatso," what we really need are some skinny offensive linemen.

Posted by: jeff | Oct 19, 2011 1:39:02 PM

Fire Hurney! How the hell does he keep getting a pass! He knew we couldn't stop the run before the season started! He knew the dt's we had could not stop the run! Went to training camp with garbage dt's! Cut all of them when season started because Coach said they can't play! Season starts and he goes picking up other peoples garbage to stop run! How many defensive lineman has he drafted and cut because they can't play! He's as soft as Otah! He's a loser and it doesn't bother him! He has to go!

Posted by: joe cool | Oct 19, 2011 1:43:50 PM

Hey don't lose your cool, joe ;) It's not fair to call Otah soft and a loser. Some guys with all the heart in the world just seem to be injury-prone, look at Dan Morgan. Maybe Otah will come back and be healthy next year but at this point I'm not betting on it. Is he even under contract past next season?

But I agree Hurney is a big problem, he has simply drafted too many washouts, but even worse his has given up tons of draft picks for them - Brown, Edwards, Clausen, and now it looks like Otah - they were all trade-ups. How many valuable picks did he give up to get these guys? Then there is the massive Jake Delhomme contract signed less than a year before we cut him, I could go on and on. Sometimes I think he has photos of JR in a compromising position. I know the GM is always an easy target, but let's face it his track record is not good. Can't we find anyone in this league that's better?

Posted by: Joe F. | Oct 19, 2011 2:20:50 PM

This is very very very very smart on the panthers. Lets face it - theyre not going anywhere anytime soon with that defense.. instead of using Otah over and over again in a loosing yr.. why not just let him rest. :)
Very smart Tough move by carolina.

Posted by: nick | Oct 19, 2011 2:29:22 PM

I wouldn't say, "Otah has no heart and passion for the game!" But I would suggests cutting him before he becomes a, Kemuatu Jenkins, or a Gilbert. Jeez, we just can't seem to get it right. Sometime I think these small market franchises intentionally make poor decision to allow the larger markets to flourish. There's 2 dozen + teams, but less than a handful of Super Bowl winning clubs.

Posted by: Ricardo Cobb | Oct 19, 2011 2:38:13 PM

Just another great player we've picked, that just can't stay on the field. I don't know how much it'll hurt us this year, but stuff like this effects how we draft and at this point, we need a lot of help on the defensive side.

Posted by: Just thinking | Oct 19, 2011 3:11:22 PM

Can we have a new GM?

Posted by: MELISSA | Oct 19, 2011 4:10:28 PM

a broken finger nail would keep Otah off the field! He can't be counted on....need to cut our losses. Give him an injury settlement and be done with him once and for all!

Posted by: David Crabb | Oct 20, 2011 6:23:28 AM

Injuries happen in a sport like football...that being said, the fact remains. Jeff Otah has been a bust!! There were issues with his health at the combine, there were issues with his "heavy feet" also!! There were several other tackles we could've drafted that have made huge impacts on their team. We chose POORLY! I really hate the fact that people that have NEVER EVEN had the balls to put a helmet on are the first to bash a guy & say he has NO heart!!! Put on a jersey & a helmet and get your pud knocked around and lets see how MUCH heart YOU have!!! Still, it sucks he's hurt again....

Posted by: Scott Dizzy | Oct 20, 2011 8:03:38 AM

Dan Morgan was a warrior-Jeff Otah is a wuss! He will never contribute to the Panthers again and I doubt any other team would take him. Give him an injury settlement and be done with him.
Why does Hurney keep drafting people that have had knee problems in college? We need to get away from using valuable draft picks on damaged goods!

Posted by: SC Ken | Oct 20, 2011 9:02:39 AM

Otah is due a bonus next year, so I don't expect the Panthers to be willing to pay that, so maybe he's done. Hope so. The good news is that Otah's really big, the bad news is that Otah's really big....and that will forever make him knees and back more susceptible to injury.

Posted by: Slim Pickens | Oct 20, 2011 12:29:30 PM

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