The Carolina Panthers brought back a familiar face Thursday to help plug holes in their damaged offensive line depth.
They signed center/guard Fernando Velasco, who played in 13 games with seven starts for the Panthers last season. After he wasn’t re-signed this offseason, Velasco latched on with the Titans until he was released in late August.
“We were honestly kind of surprised he got let go,” coach Ron Rivera said. “It’s a nice situation for us to be able to bring him back and get him into the mix, into the fold very quickly.”
Velasco, who played mostly guard last year, could be active Sunday against the Texans as center Ryan Kalil’s backup. But the Panthers are most fragile at tackle.150822 Panthers v Miami053
First, rookie Daryl Williams sprained his MCL against the Jaguars, an injury expected to keep him out two to four weeks. Then, it became clear Nate Chandler’s knee wasn’t going to get better. The Panthers had to put him was put on injured reserve Thursday, a week after his surgically repaired knee flared up.
“It buckled on him the other day, so we’re concerned, he’s concerned. The doctors just felt that this was probably the best situation,” Rivera said.
Because Michael Oher and Mike Remmers are the only two healthy tackles on the roster, guard Amini Silatolu has slid over to become their primary backup with Chris Scott available in an emergency.
It’d be easier if there were capable tackles sitting on the street, but it’s slim pickings this time of year.
“We’re scouring the wires and we’re really looking,” Rivera said. “It’s a hard situation right now.”