Panthers linebacker Jon Beason said Thursday he’d be ready for training camp after missing last year with a torn Achilles.
“I’ll be out there. I’ll take the reps with the ones,” Beason told the Charlotte Observer. “Camp is a grind. I expect it to be sore. You’re going to have good days and bad days. It’s just camp, even if you are healthy. Getting in football shape is always a tough task. I’ll do as much as I can and be smart about it.”
As positive as that sounds on its face, acknowledging that it will be a process is a sign that Beason might not be 100 percent from Day 1.
The Panthers drafted Luke Kuechly in the first round, and while coach Ron Rivera said earlier this summer they’d start with Beason in the middle and Kuechly on the weak side, the reality is there are a many in the organization who think that’ll alignment will flip at some point.
Beason told PFT recently that he had spoken with Eagles linebacker DeMeco Ryans this offseason about coming back from an Achilles tear, giving him insight into the process. And he knows it’s a gradual thing, with improvements to be made even after he’s cleared.
While Beason’s teammates are optimistic he’ll be full speed, that’s probably an unfair expectation for anyone coming off such an injury. When he’s well, Beason’s a playmaker, and the kind of leader you can build a defense around.
But the fact the Panthers drafted a player with a similar description in Kuechly should tell you there’s a degree of concern about when Beason will get back to looking like the Beason of old.