WATCH: Shaq Thompson, Kawann Short Talk Challenges of 2020 Season
This offseason has been far from normal for the Carolina Panthers. Whether it be a massive overhaul of the roster, wholesale coaching changes, or COVID-19, it's been chaotic to say the least.
In the last few weeks, the NFL and NFLPA agreed to the cancellation of all preseason games, which just adds more to the everlasting changes. This will certainly hurt those who signed undrafted free agent contracts and practice squad players that were hoping to prove their worth during preseason games. Now, their chances of making the roster are slim to none.
Several protocols have been put in place for teams to prevent an outbreak of the virus. It may seem a bit overboard, but when you look at what has transpired in the MLB, specifically the Marlins, the extraordinary safety measures put in place are warranted.
On Sunday, Panthers defensive lineman Kawann Short spoke with reporters about the protocols that have been put in place and how strict everything is.
“I mean, the process is crazy. The process coming in, as soon as you get out of your car, you've got to do a test. You can’t even really get into the parking lot without a mask. Hand sanitizer everywhere. Then after you get past that, you’ve got another one when you get to the door. You have to fill out a survey, then you have to have another temperature check, then we have these monitors walking around. We can’t be too close to anybody. I think the precautions they have around here, it’s crazy, it’s overwhelming, but it’s the right thing to do for this organization to try to keep us safe and COVID free.”
The Panthers were one of the first eight teams to have their IDER (infectious disease emergency response) plan by the NFLPA, which you can read more about here.
Now, all 32 teams have had their plans approved, so it's a league-wide ordeal, obviously. Everyone is having to deal with the nuances and inconvenience of the safety protocols, but in order for a season to happen, this has to happen and the players, along with coaches, must take this seriously.
Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson also met with the media to talk about how different everything is and what has been the hardest part for him this offseason.
“You’ve got to come in with different groups and you’ve got to come on your time schedule and make sure that they’re on time. But once you do that, it’s just you’ve got to wear these monitors and stay six feet apart and that’s probably the easy part, even though you want to be close to your brothers and talk to your brothers, but you’ve just got to stay back. But that’s probably been the easiest part. It’s not really too hard, we just always learn to adapt and adjust and that’s what we’ll do - adapt and adjust.
“Just trying to figure out what’s going to happen next, when is the next thing that’s going to happen, and just trying to be on the right page with the organization and just trying to mix and match with the NFL. I think the hardest part has just been scheduling.”
The Panthers have not yet reported any positive tests at this time, but undrafted linebacker Jordan Mack (Virginia) did become the first Panther to opt out of the 2020 season last week.
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