Roman Harper Injury: Updates on Panthers Safety's Eye and Return

Mike NorrisFeatured Columnist

Dec 13, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers strong safety Roman Harper (41) stands on the sidelines during the fourth quarter against the Atlanta Falcons at Bank of America Stadium. Panthers defeated the Falcons 38-0. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina Panthers safety Roman Harper suffered an injury to his right eye in the first half of the NFC Championship Game against the Arizona Cardinals and did not return. However, he has been cleared to return to the field.

Continue for updates.

Harper Active vs. Broncos

Sunday, Feb. 7

The Panthers announced Harper will play against the Denver Broncos.

Harper Provides Vital Leadership Role to Panthers   

In his 10th year in the league and his second with the Panthers, Harper did not intercept a pass for the first time since 2011 despite starting all 16 games this season. He did have five passes defended and two fumble recoveries.

Carolina head coach Ron Rivera praised Harper before the season began, per Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer: "He’s done a great job, and he’s been the leader we’ve hoped for."

His veteran leadership has helped foster a winning attitude in Carolina. He won a Super Bowl with the New Orleans Saints, and in an article he penned in December for Sports Illustrated's MMQB, he proved the team's ultimate goal is what he's focused on most.

"We may not go 16-0, but it’s what happens [at the Super Bowl] in Santa Clara in February that matters," Harper wrote.

His leadership transitions well to the field. In the past three seasons prior to 2015, he intercepted seven passes, forced a fumble, recovered two and scored a touchdown. He was a Pro Bowler in 2009 and 2010.

Prior to this injury he had been relatively healthy over his career, playing in and starting all 16 games six times.