Matt Rhule: "We Made Hard Decisions This Offseason"

After saying goodbye to Cam Newton, Rhule and the Panthers are ready to begin a new era in Carolina

Zach Gelb
April 29, 2020 - 8:58 am

In early February, Cam Newton said that he would “absolutely” play for the Carolina Panthers in 2020. In late February, Panthers head coach Matt Rhule said that he “absolutely” wanted Newton on the roster in 2020.

As it turns out, neither statement was accurate. Carolina cut Newton in March.

“It’s always hard when you have to do what you think is best in the moment,” Rhule said on The Zach Gelb Show. “We made a lot of hard decisions this offseason. We said goodbye to some guys that have really meant a lot to this organization and to the city. It’s been hard for people here. It’s been hard for the organization. But any great program, any great championship team, has to keep evolving. So we said goodbye to some guys and made a decision we thought was best. We’re excited about the future under Teddy Bridgewater. He’s someone that I believe in.”

Rhule also believes in Robby Anderson and Russell Okung, among other offseason acquisitions. He was also happy to sign Christian McCaffrey to a historic deal.

“I like the offseason,” Rhule said. “It wasn’t any one big splash signing. We tried to be really diligent and sign a bunch of guys that we think can be here and be here for a while.”

Rhule, 45, has bounced around the football world in recent years. He coached Temple from 2013 to 2016, Baylor from 2017 to 2019 and now finds himself in the NFL. He knows it will take time to earn Panthers fans’ trust, but he intends on earning it.

“That’s why you love fans,” he said. “The only reason we have jobs is because there’s people out there that are so passionate, that love their team, that live and die with the decisions that we make. I appreciate that, and I love that. I understand that it’s hard to trust, but the reason why most teams don’t win at a high level is they’re afraid to make bold moves or they’re afraid to make tough decisions and they’re afraid to just draft just one side of the ball and how people are going to look at it. But if anything, I hope people recognize there hasn’t been a Super Bowl here yet, so we’re going to do things that are maybe sometimes difficult, maybe sometimes controversial. But we’re certainly always going to do what’s right. We feel like the Carolinas . . . this entire region, they deserve to hoist the Lombardi Trophy. So we’re going to do whatever it takes to get there.”