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Carolina Panthers Position Battles: Jonathan Stewart Shelved for 5 Games, Running Back Competition Open

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Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

With rosters having to be cut down to 75 players, the Carolina Panthers had to make a decision regarding running back Jonathan Stewart, who is dealing with a right ankle injury at the moment. The most logical move was to place Stewart on the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list, thus missing the first six weeks of the season.

Well, that’s exactly what the Panthers did Tuesday. Stewart will only miss five games, though, due to the Panthers’ bye week occurring early in week four. With Stewart out temporarily, however, it now creates competition at the running back spot behind starter DeAngelo Williams.

Carolina was hoping to open up the season with their two-headed monster of Williams and Stewart — who, by all means haven’t exactly been that recently. This will not be the case.

Stewart is coming off of a season in which he — surprise, surprise — dealt with injuries to both ankles and finished with just 333 yards and one touchdown. This campaign came after he signed a five-year, $36.5 million extension.

Ouch.

Stewart showed promise to be a feature back when healthy, having the motor to really get through tackles and into the second and third levels of the defense. Both he and Williams have not been the same guys over the past couple of seasons, having dealt with injuries and a lesser amount of carries.

Competing behind Williams will be Armond SmithTauren Poole and maybe even Kenjon Barner.

As for who will likely get the carries, that’s still left for the coaches to decide.

Ryan Heckman is a Senior Writer for RantSports.comFollow him on Twitter  @ryanmheckman, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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