San Diego coach Norv Turner said Tolbert, who was with the Chargers for four seasons, is a versatile running back who blocks well and can catch passes out of the backfield. But Turner said Tolbert's special teams contributions "will be the biggest thing we have to do in terms of replacing him."
"He brought great energy and he's a very good coverage player in the kicking game," added Turner at a media breakfast this morning at the NFL owners meetings at the Breakers Resort.
So though many of us here at CSR (me included) have speculated that Tolbert's signing was an indicator of Jonathan Stewart's future with the Panthers it could simply be a case where the fit was perfect. The Panthers have focused on upgraded special teams via free agency and he fits that role, and several others as well, perfectly.
"I thought it was really smart for Carolina to bring him in and sign him because at worst, you've got yourself a really good backup and a really good special teams player. And at best you might have yourself a legitimate starter," Harbaugh said.
"Haruki's a great guy, a hard worker, tremendous leader. I think the fans will love him."
I think you can lump the Jyles Tucker and Ken Onatolu. So let's not set our expectations too high and expect to see Martin on the bench or Stewart traded out the door. Hell, just a nice upgrade to our kick return and coverage games is to be expected out of the gate. Anything beyond that it just gravy.