By Ted Fleming
If you’re hot, you hate to see it. If you’re not, you welcome it with open arms. In the current state of the Panthers, they prefer the latter when it comes to the bye week, and it could not have come soon enough.
The team is banged up–both physically and emotionally–and their 1-4 start is painful enough, but the news got worse. Head coach Ron Rivera confirmed that center Ryan Kalil is out for the remainder of the season due to a Lisfranc injury to his left foot that will require surgery on Monday. Dr. James Anderson confirmed that it is a torn ligament that supports the middle of the foot.
If you remember, the 27-year-old Californian took out a full page ad in the Charlotte Observer at the beginning of training camp that promised a Super Bowl, and Kalil was trying to make that happen with his spirited play. Unfortunately, he hurt his foot in the first half of the Seattle game on Sunday and the injury proved to be worse than expected.
The 6-foot-2, 295-pound USC alum is in his sixth season, all in Carolina, and has not missed a game since 2008. It is hard enough to bounce back from four losses in five games, but to lose the team’s emotional leader will do nothing for their confidence. Kalil was a first round pick by Carolina in 2007 and had made the Pro Bowl each of the last three seasons.
So where does that leave the Panthers? You just don’t go out on the street and find a player of Kalil’s ability. Some have suggested he may be the best at his position in the entire league.
It is now patchwork time, and, barring a trade, starting right guard Geoff Hangartner’s name has been mentioned as a replacement; as has swingman Jeff Byers, who plays guard and center. C/G Mike Pollack might have been in the mix, but he was placed on injured reserve last week.
How the change will affect quarterback Cam Newton is unknown, but the 23-year-old is going through some growing pains right now. The good news is that the team has an extra week to work on who will be feeding him the ball.
There might even be a silver lining in all of this, because of all the potential shifting of positions on the offensive line, the Panthers’ focus should return to simply preparing for the Cowboys in two weeks rather than thinking about the hold they are in.
Clothes make the man: Did you know that Cam Newton has a second job? That’s right. When he is not throwing footballs or dodging huge bodies that have but one thing on their mind – driving him into the ground – the 23-year-old is a fashion designer. He will launch what is being described as a fashion-forward, versatile, professional apparel options for men and is expected to debut at Belk department stores by fall 2013.
Take two: Tight end Greg Olsen and his wife, Kara, are now the proud parents of twins, Talbot and T.J., who were born Tuesday morning. Both weighed in around the eight-pound mark, however, T.J. was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome six months before his birth and will have to undergo three separate open-heart surgeries .
In this corner: The Panthers announced that they have re-signed cornerback Ron Parker to the practice squad. A Newberry College grad, Parker was activated when Mike Pollack was placed in IR. He took over for Chris Gamble who was out for the Seahawks’ game and played on special teams.
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Ted Fleming is a freelance writer covering all things Carolina Panthers. His work can be found on Examiner.com.