After two seasons out of football, Tarik Cohen is resuming his career with a new team. The former Chicago Bears All-Pro running back plans to sign with the Carolina Panthers’ practice squad after working out for the team, according to ESPN. Cohen’s comeback comes after spending the last two years recovering from knee injuries.
Cohen is joining a Panthers backfield that is led by Miles Sanders and Chuba Hubbard. Sanders, who signed with Carolina this past offseason after being released by the Eagles, had 72 rushing and 26 receiving yards, respectively, during the Panthers’ season-opener, a 24-10 loss to Atlanta. Hubbard ran for 60 yards on nine carries in Carolina’s season-opener.
The Bears, who drafted Cohen in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, released him with an injury designation in March. Cohen, who missed the entire 2021 campaign with knee injuries, didn’t play last year after tearing his Achilles during a workout. Cohen’s knee injuries limited him to just three games in 2020.
Cohen, 28, was enjoying a highly productive career before he started running into injuries. He amassed nearly 1,600 all-purpose yards during his rookie season. Cohen blossomed into an All-Pro performer in 2018, catching 71 passes for 725 yards and five touchdowns while rushing for 444 yards and three touchdowns. He also led the NFL in punt return yardage while that season helping the Bears capture the NFC North division crown. Cohen followed that up with a career-high 79-catch season in 2019.
“I want to be the player that I was before I got hurt,” Cohen said on a Rally House Q&A in February of 2022. “I won’t let myself come back before I’m ready and before I feel like I can put the same performances on that I was putting on before I got hurt.”
Cohen will now get his chance with the Panthers, who are hoping to make noise in what should be a wide open NFC South division race. The Panthers’ big storyline in recent weeks has been linebacker Brian Burns’ ongoing contract situation. Burns, despite being unhappy with his current situation (he is playing under his fifth-year option), played in Sunday’s loss to Atlanta and had 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble.