Things we saw, heard and learned as the Carolina Panthers cleaned out their lockers on Monday after a disappointing 7-9 season after a 6-2 start.
▪ Linebacker Thomas Davis gave retiring center Ryan Kalil a signed jersey with a personal message on it as a going-away present. It was hanging in Kalil’s locker.
▪ Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said he won’t speculate on status of Cam Newton’s shoulder, or whether surgery is necessary this offseason. He also said he expects to return as head coach.
Rivera said there is no specific timetable for Newton’s shoulder or any potential procedures, but that he would like everything to happen as soon as possible.
▪ Record-setting running back Christian McCaffrey says he’ll take some time off away from football this offseason, but then get back into it to ensure a lot of growth between Year 2 and 3.
▪ Veteran cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said Rivera did not discuss his future with the team this morning. “I expect him to be here,” Munnerlyn said. Munnerlyn also said these cleanout days get harder and harder as his career goes on.
▪ Defensive end Mario Addison says the biggest thing the D-line needs to work on pass-rush wise is “trust” from the get-go. Addison also says it would be a good thing for the Carolina Panthers to bring back Ron Rivera and GM Marty Hurney.
▪ Kicker Graham Gano said the injury to his plant leg didn’t require surgery and won’t affect his 2019 season.
▪ Wide receiver Devin Funchess, who started the season as No. 1 but was inactive despite being healthy on Sunday, declined to talk to the media. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent.
▪ Rookie cornerback Donte Jackson, who runs a 4.32 40-yard dash, when asked if he can get faster in the offseason: “I don’t know, if I get any faster, I might go back in time.”
▪ Davis said it’s “unfair” Arizona Cardinals didn’t give Steve Wilks a better shot at turning that team around. Cardinals reportedly parting ways with the first year head coach and former Panthers defensive coordinator.
▪ Davis said he doesn’t have a timeline for his future and when it might be determined. Reiterated that he still he a lot of football left to play and wants to back with Carolina in 2019.
Asked if he could clarify whether he is or isn’t willing to take another pay cut to stay, Davis responded: “Whatever it takes.”
▪ Defensive tackle Kyle Love, who will be a free agent, says he would like to be back in 2019 but hasn’t had any conversations about a new deal yet.
▪ Love said he was asleep recently when he asked his wife to pass him the tape cutters. “What?” she said. “Never mind,” he said. “It’s been a long season.”