Tarik Cohen isn’t a stranger to adversity. His complete street to the NFL was a lesson in overcoming odds, and now he’s doing it once more. After lacking the final two seasons on account of damage, the 28-year-old is making one final run at actually realizing his dream after it was introduced earlier this week that Cohen would be joining the Panthers on their practice squad.
It’s straightforward to overlook that not way back Cohen was one of the crucial electrical multi-phase participant within the NFL. In 2018 he was named a first-team All-Professional after ending the season with 444 dashing yards, 725 receiving yards, 411 punt return yards and a complete of eight touchdowns. The Bears felt like they’d discovered an ideal committee to deal with their operating again duties, with the objective being to spell Cohen with rookie David Montgomery to variety their assault. Each gamers struggled underneath Matt Nagy in his remaining season, and the hapless Bears offense faltered. Nevertheless, hopes have been excessive for 2020 with Justin Fields being added to the fold.
Cohen thrived within the new offense. Transferring him to a rotational function suited him a lot better than being a starter, and in three video games he was averaging 5.3 yards-per-carry, 6.8 yards-per-reception — and he was again on monitor. Then catastrophe struck. Cohen tore his ACL and MCL on a routine punt return in opposition to the Falcons in Week 3, leaving his season in tatters.
Sadly, it might solely worsen from there.
In 2021 Cohen’s brother was discovered lifeless at an influence substation on account of unintended electrocution. Then in April of 2022 Cohen’s youthful brother Dante was killed in a automobile accident. It’s unattainable to grasp how troublesome the final two years had been on the household, however the sliver of a silver lining was Cohen being poised to return to the NFL.
Then, weeks earlier than coaching camp opened, Tarik Cohen was filming himself figuring out on Instagram stay, and he tore his Achilles. It not solely ended his season, however many believed it might finish his profession.
Cohen by no means stopped believing. He was determined to return to soccer. This was a person who regardless of being ludicrously gifted in highschool, he didn’t get any Energy 5 provides on account of issues over his measurement. In the end he solely acquired one provide from a Division I college — with North Carolina A&T being the one place prepared to roll the cube on him. He rewarded their religion by turning into an absolute drive within the MEAC, turning into the convention’s all-time main rusher and incomes a fourth spherical choose, the best in historical past for a pupil from NC A&T.
Now he’s obtained an opportunity to make it again to the league. There’s extra adversity to return. Cohen will begin on the Panthers apply squad, however there’s an enormous probability right here. The group is presently missing a dependable punt returner, which Cohen can hopefully provide — and there’s even room to make an influence on offense as a rotational again. There are two robust gamers in entrance of him in Miles Sanders and Chubba Hubbard operating the place by committee, however Hubbard particularly isn’t a lot of a consider passing downs, which opens the door.
It’s unattainable to not root for Tarik Cohen. It wasn’t way back that he was known as “the saddest story within the NFL,” and it was an sadly well-earned title — however now there’s an opportunity this story would possibly lastly have a contented ending with the Panthers.