Did Hill ruin his chance with the Carolina Panthers?


Training camp has yet to begin for the Carolina Panthers – it starts this Friday, July 31st – and already the Panthers have had an eventful week, to say the least.

On Monday of this week, offensive lineman Jonathan Martin unexpectedly retired instead of having back surgery, which could caused him to miss the 2015 season.  What this did was create even more speculation on a questionable offensive line.

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Another position which has needed to be upgraded since the departure of Steve Smith has been wide receiver.  Drafting Kelvin Benjamin last year, as well as signing undrafted wide receiver in 2014 Corey “Philly” Brown and drafting Devin Funchess in the draft this year shows the Panthers are working at improving this position with youth.  But with youth, you need veteran players at the position to mentor the youth, teaching the young players how to approach the game and improve their skills.

So what have the Panthers done to help the young wide receivers?  Well, they signed veteran Jerricho Cotchery before the 2014 season and Ted Ginn Jr. earlier this year.  But there was also a veteran receiver who spent the 2014 season on the practice squad.  That player was the New York Jets 2012

Sep 22, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Stephen Hill (84) catches a pass against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

second round draft pick Stephen Hill.  Hill’s speed and production in New York is the reason the Panthers signed him and although he spent the 2014 season on the practice squad, the coaching staff had hoped Hill would be a contributor in the 2015 season, as Ron Rivera expressed in Phoenix earlier this year during the NFL owners meeting.

“Very much so, he’s a guy we feel has an opportunity. We’re very excited about [seeing] Stephen during OTAs and minicamp.  With his size [6-4, 215] and speed and his ability to get vertical, if he can assimilate to what we do — and I think he will; he seems to be a very smart man — he might be a guy that has an opportunity to contribute for us.”

Well earlier today, Wednesday, July 29th, Hill was not very smart and might have lost any opportunity to contribute and be a part of this team.  Hill was cited during a traffic stop in Concord, NC and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, according to a police report.

Police in Concord cited a Carolina Panther Tuesday afternoon during a traffic stop and charged him with possession of drug paraphernalia, according to a police report.  The initial reports were the officer found two grinders with marijuana residue, along with a marijuana bowl.  It is also reported Hill was cited for failure to wear his seatbelt.

Although these are misdemeanors and Hill was only cited, will the Panthers give him a second chance, or cut ties before camp?  Without the Panthers commenting on the situation, there is no telling what they will do.  The only for sure thing is the Panthers thought they had a player who could contribute and help the young wide receivers, but now we might not ever know.  It has been an eventful week already for our team.