The Carolina Panthers have a new starting fullback. Mike Tolbert, who came into the NFL out of Coastal Carolina as a fullback, will return to the role next season with the Panthers.
Tolbert is 5-9 and 243 pounds. He's not as wide as he is tall, but it's close.
"He's a versatile football player and he's a great fit for us," says Panther general manager Marty Hurney.
Hurney confirms that Tolbert, who signed a four-year contract with Carolina, will play fullback.
Tolbert also plays special teams, runs, catches passes and scores touchdowns. He scored 10 for San Diego last season even though he didn't start.
If there's a short-yardage touchdown to be scored with Carolina, however, the running backs usually have a great view of Cam Newton scoring it.
The addition of Tolbert frees the Panthers to trade running backs DeAngelo Williams or Jonathan Stewart.
Sources say, however, that the Panthers do not plan to shop either player.
The Panthers signed Williams to a huge contract before the 2011 season. The contract implies a committment. Also, the contract is such that potential suitors are unlikely to pick it up.
Stewart has one season remaining under the contract he signed as a rookie. Because he still works under the initial contract, he would be an attractive addition to an opponent. He does, however, have a history of injuries and will be a free agent in 2013.