Carolina Panthers star Luke Kuechly has returned to practice for the first time since suffering a concussion in Week 1. Unless there are any setbacks during practice this week, Kuechly is expected to play Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks, according to Rand Getlin of NFL Network.
Kuechly missed three games while he was in concussion protocol, but was cleared this week before the Week 6 matchup. And it might have come down to candy.
When Kuechly visited the independent neurologist on Monday, he brought along a gift, provided by cornerback Josh Norman.
"I gave him some gummy bears to give to the lady," Norman told ESPN. "I know she’s listening. So I know you’re going to get them."
Norman had been cleared by the same neurologist after a preseason concussion.
Whether it was the candy or the scans of Kuechly's brain, his return to the field will be a boost for the unbeaten Panthers. He's been sidelined since suffering a concussion in Week 1 against Jacksonville -- his first game after signing a five-year, $62 million contract extension.
Even at 4-0, the Panthers know they are a much better team with Kuechly. He's been a first-team All-Pro in each of the last two years, and was named the Defensive Player of the Year in 2013. He's considered the game's best tackler, having led the league in 2012 and 2014.