Matt Corral's alternative road to redemption off to exceptional start

The comeback is on...

Matt Corral
Matt Corral / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Former Carolina Panthers quarterback Matt Corral's road to redemption is off to the best possible start after a standout UFL debut.

Every Carolina Panthers fan should be rooting for Matt Corral. The quarterback was dealt a rough hand thanks to developmental mismanagement from Matt Rhule's increasingly desperate regime and injury issues to begin his NFL career. By the time he was ready to return from a Lisfranc foot fracture, a new regime had already set their sights on Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young as the team's future franchise signal-caller.

After going to the New England Patriots and quickly departing, Corral took time away from football to focus on his mental health. It was going to be a long road back, so having the right mindset and taking care of some demons was the correct life path for the Ole Miss college product.

Matt Corral could be back in the NFL soon

Corral is embarking on an alternative road to redemption. Instead of exploring chances down an NFL depth chart, the former third-round selection opted to take his skills to the UFL's Birmingham Stallions. Based on the sample size from his competitive debut, it won't be long before teams around the league come calling.

The player was back like he'd never been away, displaying the quick release and pocket poise that made the Panthers trade up to take him at No. 94 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft. There is a long way to go, but his return to the gridiron after so long away couldn't have gone much better.

According to Birmingham coach Skip Holtz, there was an added and unusual bonus from Corral's perspective. This came in the form of a big-time hit to shake off the proverbial cobwebs based on post-game comments via

"He ran the ball on a draw, got us down there in the red zone right at the end of the quarter, and he came over to me, and I said, ‘Here’s what we’re thinking,’ and he looked right at me and said, ‘God, I needed that.’ I said, ‘What?’ He said, ‘I needed that hit. I needed to be hit like that to be like, all right, now we’re playing football. It’s like I got to knock the rust off. I needed that hit. I bit my tongue. Tongue is bleeding. I need some water. I mean, I needed that just to say: Hey, let’s compete. Almost like I needed to get punched in the mouth.’"

Skip Holtz via

Corral cannot be accused of being anything but a fiery competitor. He's the type of signal-caller that uses any physical hit and media criticism as motivation. He's had plenty of that in recent years, but the fightback starts now.

The Panthers saw something in Corral. Bill Belichick did too once Carolina deemed him surplus to requirements. A few more performances like this, and a few teams around the league who need to bolster quarterback depth will be taking a keen interest.

Every comeback story has to start somewhere. Corral's is well underway and hopefully, the best is firmly ahead.