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Almost eliminated from playoffs, Panthers might decide to sit Luke Kuechly vs Redskins

Almost eliminated from playoffs, Panthers might decide to sit Luke Kuechly vs Redskins

Just one season after a trip to the Super Bowl, the Carolina Panthers won't even return to the postseason.

Their fate was sealed Sunday when both Green Bay and the Atlanta won. The Packers win locked the Panthers out of a Wild Card possibility, and the Falcons win shut Carolina out of the NFC South playoff spot.

What does this mean for the Redskins on Monday night in the Week 15 finale

It could mean 2013 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Luke Kuechly doesn't play.

Kuechly sustained a concussion in the Panthers win over the Saints in late November and has missed his team's last three games. He was cleared this week of the NFL concussion protocol and returned to practice, but some questions remain if the linebacker should play with the team eliminated from the postseason.

"We are excited to have Luke healthy and cleared from the protocol," Panthers coach Ron Rivera said via the team website last week. "I know he is extremely motivated to get back on the field and help us win games. Whether he plays this week or not, I don’t know. We have to balance our enthusiasm with what’s best for Luke and the team long term."

RELATED: NFL PLAYOFF SCENARIOS FOR WEEK 15

Sure sounds like the coach is hedging his position.

Reports show that Kuechly will make the trip up from Charlotte to D.C., but the decision if he plays is not expected until Monday afternoon. Kuechly has a history of concussions, as he also missed three games last season with a head injury.

A three-time Pro Bowler, the Panthers need to weigh the risk and reward of sitting their middle linebacker in a game with no meaning for the franchise.

For the Redskins, not facing Kuechly is obviously an advantage, though Carolina's defense is still quite stingy.

The Panthers lead the NFL in sacks and have forced eight turnovers in the last three weeks without Kuechly. 

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Charley Casserly learned a lot from the late Bobby Mitchell

Charley Casserly learned a lot from the late Bobby Mitchell

As the Washington Redskins family continues to mourn the passing of the legendary Bobby Mitchell, former GM Charley Casserly weighed in on how much he took away from knowing Mitchell.

“Bobby Mitchell was a dear friend and mentor to me during my time with the Washington Redskins,” Casserly begins. “He took me under his wing. He taught me scouting.”

Casserly first met Mitchell when the former was just an intern getting his start in the business. Rather than push him aside, Mitchell imparted upon Casserly the importance of attitude and demeanor.

“He taught me how to be a professional in the workplace,” the former GM continued. “He cared about people in the community. That’s what, to me, separated him from many other people.”

Mitchell’s longest-lasting impact is his role as one of the first players of color to integrate the Redskins back in 1962, but his role as a mentor and friend to so many in the Washington area lives on as well.

As Casserly says, Mitchell is sorely missed already.

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Brian Mitchell was 'truly impressed' by Redskins legend Bobby Mitchell: Great football player, better human being

Brian Mitchell was 'truly impressed' by Redskins legend Bobby Mitchell: Great football player, better human being

Hall of Famer Bobby Mitchell died on Sunday at the age of 84, according to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Mitchell, who became the first black player on the Redskins when he was traded to Washington in 1962, had a significant impact on another former Redskin, Brian Mitchell, both on and off the field. 

“He was a great football player but I think 25,000 times more of a human being,” said Brian, who was drafted by the Redskins in 1990. 

As Brian grew closer with the Hall of Famer, he was especially impressed by his efforts to fight for equality in the African American community.

“I knew that he was the first African American to come to D.C. and play, but then when I began to find out more about him he was the guy that was out there fighting, a social activist, doing things to help out our black community, which truly truly impressed me,” Brian expressed.

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Brian took great pride in not only knowing the Hall of Famer but having the same last name. 

“I remember someone asking if I was a relative and he said 'no.' And then he told me, he said ‘every time you ran another touchdown, I was like he’s a cousin. Oh, that’s my boy, that’s my son,” Brian said. 

To this day Brian strives to be as influential as Bobby was.

“This one man who did so much had so much impact on so many people throughout this community, it said a lot to me. He’s going to be sorely missed. We love you Bobby, take care,” Brian said.

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