Kawann Short's long wait might be coming to an end sometime soon. A two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle with the Panthers, Short has begun communicating with teams after being cleared for football activity, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The eight-year veteran was released by the Panthers in February after undergoing shoulder surgery during the 2020 season.
Short, who turned 32 years old earlier this offseason, played in just five games during the past two seasons. A partially torn rotator cuff ended his 2019 season after just two games. He played in just three games in 2020 before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery. Bravvion Roy (nine starts) and Zach Kerr (four starts) filled in for Short last season. Carolina's other starting defensive tackle last season was rookie Derrick Brown, who recorded 34 tackles, two sacks and eight tackles for loss in 15 games.
The 44th-overall pick in the 2013 draft, tallied 280 tackles, 59 tackles for loss, 32.5 sacks, nine forced fumbles, six fumble recoveries, and 12 passes defensed in 99 regular-season games (76 starts) for the Panthers. Short's best season was in 2015, when he recorded a career-high 11 sacks to go with three forced fumbles. Short's play helped the Panthers win 15 regular-season games en route to the franchise's second Super Bowl appearance. He recorded 13.5 sacks over the next two seasons before earning his second Pro Bowl berth in 2018.
Along with his production, Short was voted as a team captain on two occasions during his time in Carolina.
"He has everyone's back, and he cares about people," Panthers coach Matt Rhule said of Short during the 2020 season. "I can't think of a better captain, just in my time of being here. I just have a lot of respect for him. He's got a special way about him."
Short is one of two notable former Pro Bowl defensive tackles who are still on the open market. Geno Atkins, an 11-year veteran and eight-time Pro Bowler as a member of the Bengals, is expected to begin visiting with teams after recovering from shoulder surgery.