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Panthers RB Miles Sanders will 'absolutely' be ready to face Falcons in Week 1 after camp groin injury

Carolina Panthers running back Miles Sanders returned to the practice field on Tuesday after missing more than two weeks nursing a groin injury.

The free-agent acquisition is confident he'll have plenty of ramp-up time to get ready for the Week 1 showdown with the Atlanta Falcons on Sept. 10.

"Absolutely," Sanders said when asked if he'll play Week 1, via The Associated Press.

The Panthers inked Sanders this offseason to be their lead back after he put up a career-high 1,269 rush yards and 11 touchdowns on his way to earning a Pro Bowl spot with the Eagles.

"We do feel like Miles has the opportunity and potential to be one of our playmakers," Panthers head coach Frank Reich said. "He's explosive. He's a dual threat. He's got long speed, he's got burst, he's got quickness, he's got good vision. That's why we went out and got him."

The Panthers have repeatedly said Sanders would be involved in the passing game despite earning fewer than 30 catches and 200 yards each of the past three seasons in Philly. Sanders' most prolific usage in the passing game came during his rookie season, in which he caught 50 balls for 509 yards and three TDs. Since then, the Eagles used him less and less in the air attack.

Without seeing Sanders in the preseason, it's hard to know how much of the discussion regarding the RB's involvement in the passing game is coach-speak and how much will prove true, but the consistent refrain about his role is too much to ignore.

"Yes, I would love to showcase my talent, whether it's catching the ball, running the ball, blocking," Sanders said. "I'll do whatever to help our team win."

First, he must stay healthy after the camp groin issue.

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