Panthers sign Norman with Horn having wrist surgery

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Carolina Panthers worked out 35-year-old cornerback Josh Norman on Monday because starter Jaycee Horn’s status for Sunday’s crucial game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is up in the air.

Horn broke his left wrist in Carolina’s 37-23 win over the Detroit Lions on Saturday and will have surgery Tuesday, interim coach Steve Wilks said. Wilks also said it will be determined after surgery whether Horn is done for the season or will be able to play with a club on his arm.

Wilks said the expectation is the Panthers will sign Norman if all goes well in his workout.

If Horn is out, Keith Taylor would start at cornerback, Wilks said, and Norman would play in a reserve role.

He has experience in this league and he brings veteran leadership and most importantly he possesses our DNA,” Wilks said of Norman. “I know him personally and he played for me. He understands the culture we are trying to create here and the level of play we are looking for.”

Norman spent four seasons in Carolina (2012-15), helping the Panthers reach the Super Bowl in his final season while earning All-Pro honors. But after initially placing the franchise tag on Norman following the 2015 season, then-general manager Dave Gettleman abruptly rescinded the offer.

Norman went on to sign a five-year, $75 million free-agent contract with Washington, where he spent five seasons. He also had a season in Buffalo and San Francisco, starting 14 games last season with the 49ers and forcing a career-high seven fumbles. Norman has not played this season.

The Panthers (6-9) trail the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-8) by a game in the NFC South, but still control their own destiny because of head-to-head tiebreakers.

If Carolina beats Tampa Bay and New Orleans to close the season, it will secure its first division title since 2015 despite having a losing record. If the Panthers lose Sunday, their division title hopes are over. The Panthers held Tom Brady and the Buccaneers in a check in a 21-3 win earlier this season.

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