Panthers QB Sam Darnold cleared for contact, will play in Week 16 vs. Bucs

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  • Carolina Panthers
    Carolina Panthers
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  • Sam Darnold
    Sam Darnold
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  • Matt Rhule
    American football coach
  • Cam Newton
    Cam Newton
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The Carolina Panthers facilitated one of the most welcomed returns, perhaps in the history of the sport, earlier this season. Now, they could be going through with one of the most unpopular.

On Wednesday, head coach Matt Rhule confirmed that Sam Darnold has been cleared for contact and will play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 16. While he didn’t divulge exactly how the team plans on using the fourth-year quarterback in his return, Rhule did confirm Darnold will come in at some point behind starter Cam Newton.

“Cam will start the game, will have a major role in the game,” Rhule said. “But Sam will play at some point.”

Darnold has missed the past five games with a fracture in his right shoulder. The Panthers have gone 1-4 in those outings, with four of those five starts going to Newton.

Carolina has continued to struggle mightily in the passing game. This past Sunday’s loss to the Buffalo Bills saw the offense muster up 124 yards through the air in the 31-14 defeat, in which Newton completed 18 of his 38 throws with a touchdown and an interception.

That attack wasn’t doing much under Darnold either. The former third overall pick threw 10 interceptions over his last six contests before being placed on the injured reserve.

He’s baaaaack! *Sigh*

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