Black and Blue Review

Black and Blue Review

Carolina Panthers News and Coverage for the Digital Age

6-Pack: Resurrected Careers, Coaching Calls and a Janitor

Photo: Margaret Bowles
Photo: Margaret Bowles




A day after the Panthers spent their Thanksgiving feasting on the Cowboys, three players without jobs were on Carolina’s practice fields. Two of them will now feature prominently in a potential playoff run.

Defensive backs Cortland Finnegan and Robert McClain, who each hadn’t played since 2014 until recently resurrecting their careers, are set to start in the Divisional Round.

Finnegan has received extensive time in the slot since the Panthers signed him shortly after that post-Thanksgiving tryout. McClain wasn’t added until midway through last month, and until Sunday’s regular-season finale, he hadn’t played a snap on defense. But when Charles Tillman reinjured his right knee early in the second half, McClain helped finished off the Bucs with seven tackles and an interception.

An MRI on Monday confirmed Tillman tore his ACL, one that was partially torn since Week 10. After missing four games, he came back three weeks ago, knowing there was a risk he could suffer a full tear. Now with Tillman’s season and possibly career over, the outside corner job across from Josh Norman goes to a guy whose career appeared over until Carolina called him a few weeks back.

“Robert got his chance and played very well,” coach Ron Rivera said.

“He’s a physical football player, a good tackler. He had seven total tackles in this game with about 30 reps, so that equates very nicely for us.”

Six weeks ago, Finnegan was semiretired and playing pickup hoops at his local gym. McClain was working out by himself hoping to get one more shot. It may not be ideal that they’re now key pieces in the postseason, but they sort of fit into this Panthers’ season that would have been impossible to script.

“It’s a special thing around here that they’ve built. Just to be a part of it is a true blessing,” Finnegan said. “We’ll continue to pick up the pieces along the way.”

Prev1 of 6
Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse

Share this post


Leave a Reply