The Carolina Panthers messed up handling of two key franchise players.
There is little doubt that Cam Newton is the best quarterback in Carolina Panthers history. There is also little doubt that the organization botched key situations involving him during the past couple months.
Let’s start with how they mismanaged his injury. I wrote a whole piece on that – if you want to read it – but the bottom line is, they should have been much more proactive in how they handled it. There was no reason why Newton was sitting on the sidelines, not seeing a specialist to check out his foot. The organization messed that up big-time.
Just in the last couple of weeks, they also mishandled how they were getting Newton out of town. Newton was vehement in displaying how the Panthers were twisting his words on social media. Interestingly enough, Panthers legendary tight end Greg Olsen also seemed to agree with Newton’s assessment that he was pushed out. Quite frankly, it’s sad to see.
What makes it worse, apart from being like any other normal departure, is that both Newton and Olsen represent better times in Carolina history.
Olsen said that he wasn’t sure what direction the Panthers were going to take in the offseason. Since, it’s become abundantly clear that Carolina wants to move forward with a reconstructed roster amid departures from some of the organization’s top veterans.
The franchise as a whole really messed up with their handling of these two players – Newton and Olsen – in particular. Olsen should have never been forced out and the Panthers should have been more transparent about how they were going to act moving on from Newton.
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Given how he is already framed by a majority of the media (and some fans) as being expressive and someone who draws attention only to himself, this put them in an extremely tough spot. The Panthers should have done things a bit more gracefully and they certainly had opportunities to do so. Instead, they turned this into a public relations nightmare.
As far as Olsen goes, he was nothing short of a workhorse for the Panthers. Up until the last couple of seasons he very rarely missed a game, playing in 126 for Carolina while starting all but three. Olsen started in all 16 games for five consecutive seasons and that type of durability is something you very rarely see. He battled through all of the bumps and bruises that occur while playing the game and was always a consummate professional.
The organization could have done their part to help two Panthers legends gracefully leave. Instead, they completely messed things up and left a sour taste in the mouths of many fans. Admittedly, rebuilding is hard to do, however, it didn’t have to be done this way.