The team has chosen to place Stewart on the regular-season physically unable to perform list after a doctor weighed in negatively on the back's surgically repaired right ankle Tuesday, NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reported. The Panthers later confirmed the move.
Coach Ron Rivera hinted earlier this month that Stewart was on target to play in the opener, but the oft-injured runner -- who played in just nine games last season -- has been limited to riding a stationary bike this summer. Stewart has been wholly unreliable since signing a six-year, $37.811 million contract last August.
Stewart is scheduled to earn a $9 million option bonus in 2014, so it's possible this could be his final ride with the Panthers.
Until Stewart returns, Carolina's ground game -- which finished ninth in the NFL last season -- will center around DeAngelo Williams, rookie Kenjon Barner and the elusive Cam Newton. It's a major loss for the Panthers, who have enough talent to challenge for the NFC South but not enough depth on offense to be taken seriously.The "Around The League Podcast" is now available on iTunes! Click here to listen and subscribe.