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Hayden Hurst will run routes in OTAs on Friday as he returns from groin surgery

Chris Simms explains to Mike Florio how Andy Dalton looked like a new person last season, emerging as a fearless leader who made adjustments to his game, landing No. 28 on his Top 40 QB Countdown.

Hayden Hurst is working his way back from offseason groin surgery, preventing him from doing much with his new team so far. He will take another step Friday when he returns to running routes, Panthers coach Frank Reich said Thursday.

Receiver DJ Chark Jr., who is recovering from foot/ankle surgery, will have a similar participation level.

“We’ll get them in. There won’t be any team reps, but they’re going to start getting some routes on air,” Panthers coach Frank Reich said, via Augusta Stone of the team website. “Really no competitive stuff. But both those guys will get a little bit of that tomorrow.”

Hurst, who signed with the Panthers in free agency in March, said he played through the injury all of last season with the Bengals. He still caught 52 passes for 414 yards and two touchdowns in 13 games.

Hurst is excited to get to work with the Panthers.

“It’s important to get out there, obviously knock the rust off and things like that,” Hurst said. “I think that’s what spring ball is for. But my goal right now is to get healthy. I want to play in all 17 games. I didn’t do it last year, and it’s a big goal of mine this year. So I’m just focused on getting healthy.”