With the NFL preseason kicking off on Thursday, teams across the league are deep into their training camps.
The Chicago Bears and Baltimore Ravens get to play a week before anyone else – matching up in this year’s Pro Football Hall of Fame Game.
But that doesn’t mean that the remaining 30 teams aren’t already preparing for the beginning of their seasons.
Ahead of the preseason, players work through training camp to get up to speed ahead of 2018 – in a pretty competitive environment.
As the offense is often matched against the defense in a number of drills, there’s always a fear that teams will pick up injuries before the season even kicks off.
One team that’s suffered more than most across the 2018 offseason, is the Carolina Panthers – as they’ve already lost a couple of important players.
THE PANTHERS ARE SUFFERING
First, it was offensive tackle Daryl Williams who suffered what was first feared to be a season-ending injury – tearing his MCL and dislocating his kneecap.
Thankfully, it’s not as bad as first thought – but the OT is still expected to miss a large chunk of the season.
If that wasn’t tough enough, what happened to Ross Cockrell will really hurt the team.
The cornerback, who was signed earlier this year, was expected to compete for the number two spot behind James Bradberry, but that won’t be happening anymore.
Cockrell broke his leg in practice earlier this week – and the injury was so gruesome that his teammates couldn’t even look at it – and the session was cancelled shortly after.
Obviously, this is far from ideal preparation for Carolina. They’ll be hoping that their bad luck ends there and that they can get to work ahead of 2018.
But, apparently, one Panther didn’t get the memo – and could have caused even more damage this week.
A video has surfaced from Carolina’s Tuesday training session, showing rookie Rashaan Gaulden absolutely nailing teammate Jarius Wright.
After Cam Newton airs the ball out to Wright in the end zone, the wide receiver barely has time to get his feet back on the ground before he’s wiped out by Gaulden.
Damn. Hits like that are just completely unnecessary in practice – and could even be flagged in an actual NFL game too.
Clearly, though, the rookie didn’t mean it – and he’s visibly upset after the incident. More importantly, Wright wasn’t hurt either – which is very lucky.
Obviously, Gaulden’s coach and other teammates were far from impressed – but things could have been a lot worse than they actually were.