By Max Harper

The Panthers hired ex-Colts coach Frank Reich as head coach.

Probably the safest of this year’s retread candidates, Reich arrives as the opposite of Matt Rhule.

And his hiring further calls into question the NFL’s commitment to hiring black head coaches.

Steve Wilks took over from Rhule midseason and went 6-6, but he was passed over for Reich.

Whereas Rhule was brash and seemed to make up his “plan” as he went along, Reich was methodical in Indianapolis until owner Jim Irsay forced him to be anything but in 2022.

Reich’s Colts tenure had been largely successful until he finally bit off more than he could chew as a “quarterback whisperer” with first Carson Wentz then Matt Ryan.

Quarterback, of course, is a crater-sized problem in Charlotte, though Reich and company will undoubtedly be tempted to take another ride on the veteran stopgap carousel with possibilities like Aaron Rodgers and Derek Carr out there. They also possess the No. 9 overall pick. They could be tempted to make the move to No. 1 overall via Chicago. Reich will not bring electricity, but he will bring competence.

Owner David Tepper chose Reich, 61, after a search that included nine candidates, including interim head coach Wilks and former New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton.

It ultimately came down to Reich and Wilks, who went 6-6 after Matt Rhule was fired following a 1-4 start. Wilks was the sentimental favorite of Carolina players to get the full-time job.

Tepper called Wilks to inform him he was not getting the job, according to a source, who added that there currently have been no discussions about whether Wilks will be asked to stay as a member of the staff.

Wigdor LLP, a New York City-based law firm that represents Wilks in his discrimination suit against the NFL for being fired after one season (2018) as the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, responded to the decision to hire Reich on Twitter.

“We are shocked and disturbed that after the incredible job Coach Wilks did as the interim coach, including bringing the team back into Playoff contention and garnering the support of players and fans, that he was passed over for the Head Coach position by David Tepper.

“There is a legitimate race problem in the NFL, and we can assure you that we will have more to say in the coming days.”

Reich, fired as the coach of the Indianapolis Colts in November, is the first offensive-minded head coach hired in Carolina history.

About admin

Loading Facebook Comments ...

Leave a Reply