Former first-round right tackle Jeff Otah, who has failed the physical exams now of two teams in the past 10 days (the Jets and Panthers) and who was released by Carolina on Thursday, isn't ready to end his NFL career yet.
The Panthers' No. 1 pick in 2008, Otah is only 26 years old. Once regarded as a rising star, knee problems have limited Otah to only four appearances the past two seasons, and he finished each of the past three campaigns on injured reserve. But Otah, who was outstanding his first two seasons in the league before his left knee problems, will go to Ohio to work with former Cleveland and Pro Bowl center LeCharles Bentley, and feels he could be ready to return in the first month of the season.
That might be a tad optimistic, given the negative feedback he's gotten lately, but there are plenty of teams whose personnel directors have already made mental notes to check in with Bentley about Otah's progress under his tutelage.
"Bentley knows about knees, he'll shoot straight ... but the bottom line is that, if he can help get (Otah) healthy again, and I agree that's a big 'if,' someone can steal a big-time player for free," said one NFC pro scout. "For a talent like that, it's worth watching."