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Michael Oher hits reset on career with Carolina Panthers
Left tackle puts injury-plagued past behind
Published Thursday, May 28, 2015 4:56 pm
by Ashley Mahoney

Hit the restart button.

Healthy and hungry to improve, Michael Oher has done exactly that with the Carolina Panthers.

“If you want to get things done, you have to hold yourself accountable,” said Oher, the Panthers’ new left tackle. “It’s about going back to the drawing board. It’s just going back to the basics really—doing everything over. Having the mentality like you’re not a veteran guy, [you’re] just starting over.”

Carolina addressed its deficit at left tackle with Oher—quarterback Cam Newton’s blind side (non-football fans may remember Oher’s name from the 2009 dramatization of his life staring Sandra Bullock as his adopted mother and Quinton Aaron as Oher).

“We got a lot of positive reactions from the coaches that we talked to and the players, and then talking to the young man himself,” said Panthers Coach Ron Rivera. “[We’re] real pleased with what we’re getting from Michael.”

Oher has experience at right and left tackle, and illustrated his ability to perform under pressure in the 2012 Baltimore Ravens’ Super Bowl victory.  

Carolina acquired Oher in March after the Tennessee Titans cut him one season into a four-year deal. A toe injury cut his time short in Tennessee, but Oher saw possibilities in Carolina and signed a two-year deal.

“At the end of the day, he wanted to be here,” said Rivera. “That’s one of the things he told us. He said he wanted to be here. He believed he needed to be improving—he needed to work certain things and get back on track. Just hearing that from the player and then watching him. After he signed his contract he was here and he’s been here since.”

Oher suffered from arthritis in his toe, which significantly limited his performance in Tennessee and Baltimore. After starting 11 games for the Titans at right tackle, he went on the injured reserve list in December. That same month, he underwent surgery.

“It hasn’t felt this probably good just being out there on the field and running around since I’ve probably been in the NFL,” said Oher. “It gives me a ton of confidence. I can work out the proper way [and] do a lot of things working out now. It builds a lot of confidence in me knowing that I can do everything that I need to do.”

Both on and off the field, Oher can now get back to business, confident that his foot is healed.

“I couldn’t wear certain shoes before,” he said, noting he can wear dress shoes again. “I’ve got shoes I haven’t worn in years that I can wear.”

With the mentality of an enthusiastic rookie, Oher feels confident about the upcoming season.

“There’s a big difference,” he said. “I’m not in pain out there on the field. I have to remind myself that I actually had surgery.”


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