CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WGHP) — The Carolina Panthers have added a local legend to their practice squad.
Tarik Cohen, who starred for the North Carolina A&T State University Aggies football team from 2013-16 signed with the Panthers on Wednesday.
Cohen’s name litters the Aggie record books, he gained over 6,500 yards and scored 59 touchdowns in his four years at A&T.
Cohen helped lead the Aggies to the 2015 Black college football national championship and is the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference’s all-time leading rusher.
Cohen went on to be selected in Round 4 of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears where he made an immediate impact.
He was named a first-team All-Pro in 2018 and made the Pro Bowl that same year as a return specialist. Cohen also recorded 725 yards receiving on 71 catches in 2018 emerging as one of the best scat backs in the NFL.
Cohen’s career came to a halt in 2020 after he suffered a grueling injury on a punt return, tearing his ACL and MCL. He also suffered a tibial plateau fracture.
Cohen then missed the final 13 games of the 2020 season and the entire 2021 season as he recovered. He would be released by the Bears in March 2022.
In May 2022, Cohen suffered another setback, tearing his Achilles while training. This injury caused him to miss the entire 2022 season and sandbagged his chances of signing with another team.
Now, Cohen gets a chance to restart his promising career on the Panthers practice squad just down the road from where he dominated in college.
Panthers head coach Frank Reich compared Cohen to Darren Sproles, another infamous NFL back who starred in the league despite his small stature.
Cohen stands at 5-feet-6-inches tall.
Reich says that Cohen will likely need a few weeks to get back up to speed and into football shape. However, he stopped short of guaranteeing that he would become a part of the active 53-man roster.
Cohen has a friend on the coaching staff as special teams coordinator Chris Tabor was in Chicago with him.
Cohen is the second Aggie alumni to join the Panthers this season. Offensive Tackle Ricky Lee made Carolina’s active roster as an undrafted rookie free agent.
Cohen’s addition could possibly add an explosive element to a Panthers offense in need of dynamic playmakers.