Ryan Kalil‘s 2018 season will be his last in the NFL.
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The Carolina Panthers center made that clear on Tuesday, per the Charlotte Observer.
Kalil, who turns 33 in March, has played his entire career with the Panthers. Drafted 59th overall out of USC in 2007, the center has appeared in 132 games (129 starts) throughout his career, picking up five Pro Bowl selections and three All-Pro nominations (two-time first teamer) along the way.
Kalil was the center of offensive lines that opened holes for running backs DeAngelo Williams jersey and Jonathan Stewart, who combined to post three 1,000-yard rushing seasons in their career, with each breaking the mark in 2009. He also was a key part of a Panthers team that won the NFC and reached Super Bowl 50 in the 2015 season.
Unlike longtime players who announce their retirement prior to their final season, Kalil doesn’t want the sentimental moments.
“I’m not doing the farewell tour,” he said, per the Observer, “that’s for sure.”
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Kalil battled a neck injury last season and has been cleared to play in 2018, but won’t reveal much else for fear of giving his opponents a target. After Bills center Eric Wood retired due to a neck injury, it’s understandable why Kalil would be guarded about his own health.
Coach Ron Rivera said upon hiring offensive coordinator Norv Turner that he wanted to see Newton get to “another level.” That level, however, won’t necessarily include making Cam a statuesque pocket passer.
Panthers new QB coach Scott Turner — who was a quality control coach in Carolina during Newton’s rookie season — told Max Henson of the team’s official website that Cam’s unique talent won’t go to waste.
“What he has done has really refined his game, really become a pro, but he’s going to play his way,” Turner said. “He’s going to run — that’s what makes him the dynamic player he is — but also making the throws in the pocket, going through his reads. All of those things come from experience, and he’s played seven seasons now.”
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Turner’s job is to help Newton sand down the rough edges. The QB’s biggest trouble during his first seven seasons were fits of inaccuracy, often sailing passes high. For his career, he has a 58.5 completion percentage. The past two seasons he averaged a 56 percent completion rate on 1,002 pass attempts.
Jameis Winston jersey really lost his cool at the end of this one. After being sacked by Kawann Short on a last-gasp drive, Winston lost the ball on fumble to Julius Peppers to that put the game away. Winston was livid with the call, yelling at officials as he was held back by teammates. He continued to yell on the sideline and had to be restrained by coaches and players from running onto the field. After the game, TV cameras showed him apologizing to referee Jerome Boger. It remains to be seen if he’ll face any discipline for his outburst, which resulted in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Up until letting his emotions get the better of him, Winston was the primary reason why the Buccaneers (4-11) nearly pulled off the upset. He completed 21 of 27 passes for 367 yards and a touchdown. It’s too bad he was sacked six times and the Buccaneers lost three fumbles against Carolina — otherwise they might have won.
Damiere Byrd played a significant role in this one. His 103-yard touchdown return in the first half was exactly what the Panthers needed to offset a strong early-game performance by the Buccaneers. It gave the Panthers a temporary lead, and allowed them to stay neck and neck with Tampa going into halftime.