Ward (concussion) has been ruled out for Sunday's game against the Panthers, Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal reports.

After sustaining the head injury in the Week 13 loss to the Texans, Ward has yet to clear the NFL's five-step protocol for concussions and will thus be sidelined for the first time in his career. The rookie first-round pick has already established himself as the top cornerback in Cleveland, so his absence will represent good news for Carolina receiver D.J. Moore, who may have drawn shadow coverage from Ward throughout the day.

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