Byrd was only able to work out on the side at Thursday's practice due a knee injury, Jourdan Rodrigue of The Charlotte Observer reports.
With Curtis Samuel (chest) sitting out the Week 1 win over the Cowboys, Byrd served as the Panthers' No. 5 wideout in the contest, but that role didn't yield any snaps on offense. Samuel seems to be trending toward another absence Sunday against the Falcons, and it's possible he could be joined in street clothes by Byrd. The 25-year-old will likely be listed as a non-participant in practice for the second straight day and may need to log at least a limited session Friday to keep hope alive for earning an active status in Week 2.
Byrd caught two of his three targets for 27 yards in Friday's 27-20 win over the Dolphins in the second preseason game.
Byrd also gained 45 yards across his two kickoff returns. His first reception came from backup Taylor Heinicke in the final moments of the third quarter, and he followed that with a 17-yard grab from Garrett Gilbert in the fourth. As someone hoping to make the roster and a depth receiver and returner, Byrd will hope to make a splash in Carolina's final two exhibition outings.
Byrd missed seven games in the middle of last season with a broken arm, returning in December to score three touchdowns (one on a kick return) in four games before landing back on injured reserve with a leg/knee injury. He avoided surgery and re-signed with the Panthers, but he'll likely need to compete for a depth role after the team added Torrey Smith and Jarius Wright in the offseason. Byrd's 4.28 speed could give him the inside track to a roster spot, offering the potential to return kicks while also serving as an occasional deep threat on offense.
Undrafted out of South Carolina in 2015, the lightning-quick wideout finally earned a role with the Panthers late last season, catching 10 of 17 targets for 105 yards and two scores and adding a punt return for a touchdown. His shot at a meaningful role in 2018 took a hit Friday afternoon when Carolina agreed to trade for Torrey Smith. With Smith and 2017 second-round pick Curtis Samuel offering a similar element of speed, Byrd may be forced to battle a roster spot in training camp, though it isn't totally out of the question that he pushes for a top-three role. He ended last season on injured reserve with a lower leg injury, but his ability to avoid surgery suggests he should be ready for camp, if not the start of the offseason program.
Byrd isn't expected to require surgery to address the lower-leg injury he sustained in Sunday's 22-19 win over the Buccaneers, Joe Person of The Charlotte Observer reports.
Though the lack of a procedure suggests Byrd's recovery timetable will likely be measured in weeks rather than months, his season will nonetheless come to an end after Panthers head coach Ron Rivera revealed Tuesday that the wideout would be placed on injured reserve. After trading away Kelvin Benjamin to the Bills in October and losing Curtis Samuel (ankle) to a season-ending injury of his own soon after, the Panthers were already lacking in weapons at receiver prior to Byrd's emergence over the last few weeks. With Byrd now shut down, Russell Shepard (shoulder), Brenton Bersin and Kaelin Clay -- all players that have been primarily special-teams contributors throughout their respective careers -- look like the top complementary pass catchers behind No. 1 wideout Devin Funchess, tight end Greg Olsen and running back Christian McCaffrey.
|Bye: Week 4|
|6||10/14/18||@ WAS||1:00 pm|
|7||10/21/18||@ PHI||1:00 pm|
|10||11/8/18||@ PIT||8:20 pm|
|11||11/18/18||@ DET||1:00 pm|
|13||12/2/18||@ TB||1:00 pm|
|14||12/9/18||@ CLE||1:00 pm|
|17||12/30/18||@ NO||1:00 pm|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|