Carolina Panthers: Former quarterback shines in AAF debut
Former Carolina Panthers quarterback shines in AAF debut.
Garrett Gilbert finished the 2018 NFL season as quarterback of the Carolina Panthers. He began training camp as backup to Cam Newton but ultimately was released after both Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen proved capable of filling the role.
After serving as a reserve option, behind Newton and Derek Anderson, in 2017 it was expected that Gilbert would continue in his role but the surprise play and additions of both Heinicke and Allen changed the quarterback landscape.
Once Newton was sidelined with a shoulder injury, Heinicke was inserted into the starting role. Allen became the backup but an injury to Heinicke led to him serving as the starter for the season finale at New Orleans – Gilbert was signed as insurance.
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Late in the fourth quarter Allen got hurt and Gilbert finished the game by completing a field goal scoring drive while managing two completions for 40 yards. In hopes of finding a permanent home on an NFL roster in 2019, Gilbert signed with the Orlando Apollos for the inaugural season of the Alliance of American Football (AAF).
The league debuted this past weekend on Saturday and Sunday with Gilbert leading the Apollos to arguably the most impressive win among all games. Led by former NFL and collegiate coaching legend Steve Spurrier, the Apollos cruised to a 40-6 victory over the Atlanta Legends.
Gilbert completed 15 of his 25 passes for 227 yards and two touchdowns. He also added a receiving score via a trick play of sorts dialed up by Spurrier. Gilbert handed the ball off to his running back, who tossed it to a receiver coming on a reverse – Jalen Marshall pulled up and completed a pass to Gilbert who had made his way into the corner of the end zone.
A good start for Gilbert as he continues making a case for receiving another opportunity in the NFL at some point in the future. The AAF itself also enjoyed a solid opening weekend with many football fans excited to have competitive football back on television after the Super Bowl.
Gilbert and the Apollos visit San Antonio next on Sunday (2/17) at 4:00pm EST.