The 2009 film The Blind Side told the story of a homeless black teen who was taken in by a Texas family, eventually becoming his legal guardian and helping him succeed in school and football and on into the NFL. The film starred Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw as Leigh Anne and Sean Touhy while Quinton Aaron played Michael Oher. The film was based on a true story and Michael Oher is still in the NFL. The offensive tackle was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the first round of the 2009 draft and he is now with the Carolina Panthers having played in the 2015 Super Bowl, protecting Cam Newton’s blind side.
Then came the 2016 season where Oher signed a three-year, $21.6 million deal in June. He played three games in September before going into the NFL concussion protocol. He didn’t play again and stayed in the concussion protocol well into the 2017 season. He’s also missed the teams OTAs so far. He also posted a photo on Instagram showing 10 pill bottles with the quote, “All for the brain smh.” The photo was then deleted.
Today is the start of the Panthers mandatory minicamp and Oher has reported, but is not on the field. According to the team, the player is meeting with doctors, but they have not commented on his prognosis.
Oher was the starting left tackle going into last season. During the off season the Panthers signed Matt Kalil to a five-year, $55 million deal to play left tackle. He is the younger brother of the team’s Pro Bowl center Ryan Kalil. If Oher gets back on the field, he will be competing to play right tackle along with Daryl Williams who was in that spot last year and second round draft pick Taylor Moton. The other concern is that Oher has had success on the left side, but he struggled greatly when he signed with the Tennessee Titans to play right tackle in 2014.
On top of all that, Oher also faces possible discipline from the league for a incident in May where he was charged with misdemeanor assault on an Uber driver in Nashville. His next court date is July 21.
Before any of the above becomes an issue, Oher has to be cleared to play and taken out of the concussion protocol. And while there is some doubt that it might happen, him reporting to camp is a good sign.