If the Carolina Panthers were a stock right now, they'd be Enron. In the last week, their star quarterback has struggled (again), produced a mopey press conference (again), their general manager was fired and their best two defensive players started dealing with serious injuries.
Top cornerback Chris Gamble was placed on injured reserve Monday (immediately after Marty Hurney was canned). Then top linebacker Jon Beason told News 14 Carolina's Mike Solarte on Tuesday night that surgery on his knee was probably on the way. The Panthers officially placed the linebacker on injured reserve Wednesday.
"I've been pretty banged up; it's been week to week," Beason said. "And we decided to take another look at the knee, see what's going on. [I] got the MRI (Monday), and it didn't look good. So I'm probably going to have to have surgery. And if I do that, I'm going to end up on the IR. So that's probably what we're going to do, moving forward, probably early next week.
"But it's part of the business, man. You can't control injuries."
Injuries are often random, for sure. But there've been a bunch of injuries to the Panthers' defense over the past two years. And a lot of them happen to involve players who were given big contracts.
That certainly didn't help Hurney's case, and it's fair to wonder how long some of the high-priced, freshly-paid veterans will last on the roster when a new general manager takes over. The Panthers will be strapped for cash thanks to the contracts that were handed out, and it's not going to be an easy situation to deal with. That could very well result in the cutting of fan-friendly players, with Beason -- a former All-Pro who missed most of the last two years -- a potential casualty.
Not helping his cause has been the play of rookie Luke Kuechly, who has looked good in his recent starts at middle linebacker. If Kuechly performs up to expectations for the remainder of the season, it's only going to make it more difficult to justify paying Beason's big salary, especially if he's a continued injury risk.
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