The hits keep coming for the Panthers, as Travelle Wharton announced his retirement yesterday. The offensive guard has played 10 seasons in the NFL, and though he signed with the Bengals one year, an injury prevented him from suiting up for anyone other than the Panthers for the duration of his career. Whorton’s decision comes on the heels of his fellow offensive lineman, Jordan Gross, retiring.
The scary part of all of this is that Cam Newton is coming off of an ankle surgery that will limit his mobility and practice participation in the offseason. The retirement comes at a difficult time for the Panthers. This offseason has featured a lot of turnover on the offensive line and wide receiver positions. Combining that with Cam’s rehab process makes the upcoming season (especially the first few games) even more daunting. After a division title and a 12-win season, Panthers fans are hungry for continued success.
Wharton played beside Jordan Gross on the line, and (according to Charlotte Observer’s Joseph Person) will stay beside him in his next line of work – co-hosting with Gross on a weekly TV show. Wharton started 12 games for Carolina.
With another hole in the offensive line, the Panthers will scramble to replace Wharton. Keep in mind that the Panthers physically impose their will on opponents on offense, and that mentality starts with a powerful and cohesive offensive line. With the entire left side of the offensive line going through personnel changes, it will be interesting to see if the Panthers make a philosophical change moving forward.