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Carolina Panthers receiver Curtis Samuel looked great at practice Tuesday but still has a ways to go in his injury recovery. Will former Ohio State Buckeyes star make the NFL team’s 2018 roster with five of six receiver spots all but set?

Second-year Carolina Panthers receiver Curtis Samuel is still recovering from a serious ankle injury suffered last fall, but during Tuesday’s first organized team activities, he looked positively dynamic.

A highly anticipated second-round pick out of Ohio State, Samuel struggled with hamstring problems last spring and summer and didn’t see the field much. He went on injured reserve after injuring his ankle against Miami and had to have ligament-repair surgery.

Tuesday, he wasn’t a full participant in practice. But he ran through receiver drills and then worked on the side with a trainer, showing excellent speed and precision, especially when planting and cutting on button hook or stop-and-go repetitions. 

For a guy who was allowed to run only in a straight line a couple of weeks ago, it’s progress.

“I’m out here running routes, running routes with the quarterbacks and doing my own thing on the side,” he said. “I feel great.”

While the Panthers hope to have him fully active by the start of training camp, neither Samuel nor head coach Ron Rivera is able to give a specific timetable for his recovery. But it’s notable that Carolina’s coaching staff isn’t trying to rush him.

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