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Former Chicago Bears running back Tarik Cohen is reportedly working his way back to the NFL.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Cohen plans to sign with the Carolina Panthers’ practice squad on Wednesday. He last appeared in a game in September 2020 before being sidelined with a torn ACL, torn MCL and tibial plateau fracture.
Prior to the injuries, Cohen’s speed and versatility made him a solid playmaker for the Bears.
He appeared in 51 total games from 2017 through 2020 and worked as a running back, pass-catcher, kick returner and punt returner. The North Carolina A&T product was at his best in 2018 as a Pro Bowler and First Team All-Pro selection when he ran for 444 yards and three scores while catching 71 passes for 725 yards and five touchdowns.
Cohen also led the NFL with 411 punt-return yards that season and then caught a career-best 79 passes in 2019.
Miles Sanders and Chuba Hubbard were the only running backs to receive carries during Carolina’s 24-10 loss to the Atlanta Falcons in Sunday’s season opener. While Cohen surely wouldn’t take either of their spots without an injury, he could provide depth in the backfield.
Even if Cohen doesn’t take over a primary running back role, he could help the Panthers down the line on special teams as well.
He was one of the NFL’s top punt returners when he was playing his best football and could work his way back onto a roster in such a capacity.
This is also something of a rebuilding year for the Panthers after they selected quarterback Bryce Young with the No. 1 overall pick, so taking a chance on someone like Cohen to see if he can return to his previous form at 28 years old doesn’t come with a significant element of risk.
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