Ron Rivera may have revealed that a Carolina Panthers defensive mainstay will be retiring before the start of the season…..
For many Carolina Panthers players, training camp means the start of a new season. For others, the realization begins to set in that retirement may be the best option.
Friday, Stephen Igoe of 247Sports wrote that head coach Ron Rivera thinks defensive end Wes Horton has really stood out at the position as of late. Charles Johnson may have played his last snap in the National Football League and Horton may have to be the next guy to step up.
"“I think the thing he’s going to have to continue to do is be a utility guy for us,” Rivera said of Horton. “I think when a guy like Charles Johnson is retiring, you have to have a guy that can replace that kind of ability. I think he’ll do a good job for us.”More from Cat CraveRanking the top-five QB prospects the Panthers could draft in 20234 remaining Carolina Panthers cap crunches after Damien Wilson releaseCould Duce Staley help Carolina Panthers land Jamaal Williams in 2023?How much could the Carolina Panthers afford to offer Lamar Jackson?4 Panthers rumors to emerge from 2023 NFL Scouting Combine"
Since being drafted out of Georgia in the third round of the 2007 Draft, Johnson has been a defensive mainstay for the Carolina Panthers. He was named to the All-SEC First Team in 2006 after he tallied 44 tackles, 9.5 sacks, 10 pass deflections and three forced fumbles. His defensive statistics were good enough for the sixth spot on a Bulldog team loaded with defensive talent.
In a career that has spanned 11 years to this point, Johnson has recorded 228 tackles and 67.5 sacks in 143 games played. The Georgia native has started in 114 of those contests.
His best season came n the 2010 campaign. That year, he tallied 51 tackles and 11.5 sacks, starting in all 16 games.
This is not a surprising development. There had been rumblings he would retire throughout the course of the offseason. Even still, if this is in fact the end of the road for Johnson, what a career it has been. He has been the backbone of the Carolina Panthers defense and has seen the franchise through all stages of development. From worst to first, he has been a Panther through it all.
With football being a game of uncertainty, a possible exception to the rule is that it will be certainly be strange not seeing Johnson in the trenches on Sundays.