Panthers face important choice

  • Follow NFL

CHARLOTTE, N.C. --- It started with Jake Delhomme's playoff meltdown in January 2009 and picked up steam through questionable personnel and coaching decisions, decimating injuries, an ill-timed labor dispute and plain bad luck.

Now after the swift fall from division winner to the NFL's worst team, the Carolina Panthers have a chance to end a brutal two-year stretch.

All general manager Marty Hurney has to do is be perfect with perhaps the most important selection in franchise history: the No. 1 overall pick in Thursday's NFL Draft.

"You just want to make the right selection," Hurney said.

Not long after the Panthers locked up the No. 1 pick with a 2-14 season, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck stunned the Panthers by staying in school.

So now what?

There's another potentially dominant quarterback out there who owns a national championship and a Heisman Trophy. Only Auburn's Cam Newton carries enough off-field baggage to make him one of the riskiest picks of recent times.

"Newton is off the charts completely," ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. "The game of football requires a lot of film study. You have to be able to love that part of it. If you don't, you're not going to be a great quarterback. That's what they're trying to figure out right now about Cam Newton."

New coach Ron Rivera has stressed the need for a stable QB, something the Panthers haven't had since Delhomme never recovered from his six-turnover nightmare against Arizona in Carolina's last playoff game at the end of the 2008 season.

No deadline set to cancel games

The NFL doesn't have a deadline for when games would be canceled without a collective bargaining agreement.

"We don't have a date by which the season is lost, or a date by which we have to move from 16 games to some other (number)," Eric Grubman, the league's executive vice presiwdent for business operations, said Friday at a meeting with Associated Press Sports Editors. "Our intentions are to play a full season, and we will pull every lever that we can within the flexibility we have or can identify to make that happen."

-- Associated Press

loading...
Top headlines

State legislators won't push bill for mayor

The state legislators that Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis needs to draft legislation that will give him more power say that won’t happen this year, with less than a month remaining in the legislative ...
Search Augusta jobs