Panthers vs. Texans results, final score: Sam Darnold leads Carolina to 3-0 start; Christian McCaffrey exits
Who is the greatest college quarterback of all-time? SI Top 10 ranks the best college QBs ever on a list that includes Heisman winners, national champions and future No. 1 picks in the NFL. Where do Tim Tebow, Cam Newton and Vince Young land in our rankings?
After acquiring former Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore from the Patriots, Panthers GM Scott Fitterer said the team would not immediately extend its acquisition. However, that doesn’t mean the Panthers don't intend to eventually sign their acquisition. Per Jeff Howe and Joseph Person of The Athletic, “the Panthers’ intention is to sign Gilmore to a contract extension.” © Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports Stephon Gilmore is coming off a quad injury.
The Panthers understand that they’ll have to pay up if they hope to keep Gilmore in Carolina for the long haul. Before they make that pricey investment, the Panthers want to see what Gilmore looks like on the field. The star cornerback missed five games last year and is guaranteed to miss the first six this season due to a quadriceps injury he suffered late in 2020. The team sounds optimistic that Gilmore will return once his six-week stint on the PUP comes to an end, but the front office is still being fiscally responsible before handing out an extension.
Jared Padalecki Jokingly Apologizes for His Goofy Looks on ‘Gilmore Girls’
Jared Padalecki Jokingly Apologizes for His Goofy Looks on ‘Gilmore Girls’“Gilmore Girls premiered 21 years ago today introducing us to one of the greatest mother-daughter duos in television history,” Netflix wrote via Twitter on Tuesday, sharing photos of cast, including Padalecki’s Dean Forester walking with Rory (Alexis Bledel) around town. “Blessing us with endlessly quotable dialogue, and making generations long to live in the quaint yet wildly quirky Stars Hollow.
Per Howe and Person, Gilmore’s contract issues with the Patriots apparently won’t travel to Carolina. The cornerback “will report to the Panthers and won’t demand a new contract before suiting up.” The veteran also wants to assure that “the defensive fit is as strong as it appears on paper” before committing long-term to the organization.
The Athletic piece has plenty of other notable details regarding the Gilmore trade. Specifically, while the Packers had previously been connected to the cornerback, apparently a pair of AFC teams made offers to the Patriots, and those two squads dissuaded the Panthers from making a run at Gilmore in free agency (and persuaded them to make a trade).
Subscribe to Yardbarker's Morning Bark, the most comprehensive newsletter in sports. Customize your email to get the latest news on your favorite sports, teams and schools. Emailed daily. Always free! Sign up now ▸
The Patriots Stared Him Down, But Stephon Gilmore Didn’t Blink
A look at how the star corner used the Patriots’ it’s-only-business M.O. to get paid, then get traded. Week 4 was about a long-term personal relationship for the Patriots.Week 5, evidently, will be about a professional one.New England people have long been fond of positioning days like this one as being about “business”, and in those terms, over the last year-and-a-half, the team just met its match in Stephon Gilmore, its best player in the still-relatively-new post-Brady era. Gilmore never took his fight public. He never showed outward rebellion the way other players in these sorts of spots do.
- Panthers acquire 2019 Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore from Patriots for sixth-round pick
- Panthers not planning to offer Stephon Gilmore an extension yet
- The 'NFL Defensive Player of the Year' quiz
Related slideshow: NFL players who returned from devastating injuries (Provided by Yardbarker)
NFL players who returned from devastating injuries
Featuring by far the highest number of significant injuries of the major American sports, the NFL has seen many players display resiliency by returning from severe setbacks. Here are 25 key examples of players who battled back from career-defining injuries to continue playing.
In an elite era for running backs, Andrews is a bit overlooked. But the former Falcon bruiser was a four-time Pro Bowler and presented a grueling tackling assignment to defenders from 1979-83. He led the NFL in scrimmage yards in 1981, managing a staggering 81 catches out of the backfield. But during a 1984 preseason practice, Andrews shredded all the ligaments in his left knee. This caused scary nerve damage and sidelined the fullback for two full seasons. While Andrews was not the same player upon returning in 1986, his final season, bouncing back from these injuries in the mid-'80s was a remarkable achievement.
Bleier's journey dwarfs most of this list's injuries. Drafted for the Vietnam War late in his 1968 rookie season, the Steelers running back suffered life-threatening injuries to both legs. Enemy fire resulted in Bleier taking a bullet in the left leg, and a grenade explosion the same day sent shrapnel into his right leg. Bleier faced possible leg amputation, but after two seasons away, he returned to the Steelers in 1971 and played 10 more seasons. He was part of all four Steelers Super Bowl teams and joined Franco Harris in being the second pair of teammates to exceed 1,000 rushing yards in the same season in 1976.
Forming a dominant inside-linebacking duo with Patrick Willis, Bowman helped the defense-powered 49ers to three straight NFC championship games (and Super Bowl XLVII) from 2011-13. But Bowman suffered a brutal injury in the third of those title games, tearing all the knee ligaments in his left leg in the 49ers' Jan. 2014 loss in Seattle. Bowman missed the 2014 season but returned to deliver one of the best single-season comebacks in NFL history a year later, leading the NFL with 116 solo tackles and earning his fourth All-Pro honor. Bowman even came back from a torn Achilles, finishing his career as a Raider starter in 2017.
Not all of these rebounds produced success, but the 1995 No. 1 overall pick who often lands on "biggest draft busts" lists managed to play until 2004. Carter suffered a torn left ACL on his third preseason carry and was never the same. The former Penn State superstar played on his seven-year, $19.2 million Bengals deal through the 1999 season. He missed all of the 2000 and '02 slates, suffering upper-body maladies and a dislocated right kneecap along the way. But with Washington in 2001, Carter rushed for 308 yards (4.9 per carry) in 14 games. He finished his career as a Saints backup from 2003-04.
ACL tears and Achilles trouble overshadow the injury Cruz sustained, but they should not. Patellar tendon tears are career-crushers, and Cruz was out for a year and a half after suffering the damaging knee injury on a Sunday night in Philadelphia. The salsa-dancing Giants slot receiver broke out with a monster 2011 season (1,536 yards, nine TDs) and helped Big Blue to its fourth Super Bowl title; he earned a five-year, $43M extension in 2013. Cruz took a backseat to Odell Beckham Jr. by the time he returned in 2016 -- his final season -- but still caught 39 passes for 586 yards in 15 games for a playoff-bound squad.
This is more of a lifetime achievement award, because the still-active linebacker has surmounted not just three ACL tears but decided to play through a broken arm in order to suit up for a Super Bowl. The 16th-year veteran tore the ACL in his right knee in three straight seasons -- 2009-11 -- and played just nine games in that span. The medical marvel only missed three games due to injury over the next six seasons. This included suffering a broken forearm in the Panthers' NFC title game win over the Cardinals. Davis underwent surgery the next day and made seven tackles in Super Bowl 50.
A particularly crushing example of a one-hit wonder, Edwards is most remembered for a knee injury in a beach flag football game. The 1998 first-round pick rushed for 1,115 yards and scored 12 TDs as a rookie, helping the Patriot to their final playoff berth of the Drew Bledsoe era. But the injury -- a torn ACL, MCL and PCL -- in a rookie showcase at the Pro Bowl had doctors considering amputation. This ended Edwards' Pats career after one season, but he made it back after three years away. In the 2002 opener with the Dolphins, Edwards scored twice. Those were his final two TDs in what became a one-season comeback.
The decades-long broadcaster is in the Hall of Fame for his 1950s contributions as a Giants halfback, but Gifford also authored a signature NFL comeback. Eagles linebacker Chuck Bednarik delivered a frightening but legal hit on Gifford during a 1960 game, and the result was ugly even for the day: Gifford unconscious, stretchered off the field, out of football for the 1961 season. Later, it was discovered Gifford suffered a spinal concussion. But he returned as a wideout in 1962 and played three more seasons, making the 1963 Pro Bowl and helping the Giants to two NFL title games.
A Vikings starting linebacker for most of the 2000s, Henderson missed out on the team's Brett Favre-centered run to the 2009 NFC championship game. After missing 12 games because of a foot injury in 2008, Henderson suffered a gag-inducing broken leg in December of the '09 season. Fortunate to benefit from modern medicine, Henderson was back on the field by Week 1 of the 2010 season -- thanks to a titanium rod being inserted into his leg. He ended up playing two more seasons, making the Pro Bowl in his first year back.
It is hard to overstate how productive Holmes was with the Chiefs in the early 2000s. The Chiefs offense housed three Hall of Famers, and Holmes drove them. He totaled 6,566 scrimmage yards from 2001-03 and broke the NFL touchdown record with 27 in '03. A knee injury ended Holmes' 2004 season early, but he and Larry Johnson were a formidable duo to start the '05 slate. A collision with Shawne Merriman altered the Chiefs' plans, sidelining Holmes 23 months with head and neck trauma. Holmes made a surprising return in Oct. 2007 and started two games. But neck pain recurred early in his comeback, prompting a retirement.
The Bengals defensive tackle suffered one of the NFL's most widely viewed injuries, breaking his leg in two places during Super Bowl XXIII in January 1989. Krumrie had gone from 10th-round 1983 draftee to Bengals starter in less than two years, and he operated accordingly after his Super Bowl ended early. With the help of a steel rod, Krumrie was back in Cincinnati's starting lineup in Week 1 of the 1989 season. He played six more seasons, all with the Bengals, and ended a 12-year career without a single injury absence.
After leading the Lions to two NFL titles in the early 1950s, Layne had the team set to vie for a third crown in 1957. But the future Hall of Fame quarterback could not finish what turned out to be a championship season, breaking his leg in three places in the regular season's penultimate game. Tobin Rote took over and piloted the Lions to the title and ended up sticking around long-term; the Lions stunned Layne by trading him early in the 1958 season. Layne proceeded to make the Pro Bowl in '58 and '59 with Pittsburgh, surmounting the injury to play five more seasons.
Luck's shoulder rehab turned into a career-threatening ordeal and played a role in the Colts QB walking away in 2019. Luck played through shoulder pain during the 2016 season, and January labrum surgery not producing a desired result began an 18-plus-month recovery process. Luck's timetable continued to be pushed back, and he missed all of 2017. But he returned for a low-key dominant 2018 season, throwing 39 TD passes and powering an off-the-radar Colts team to the divisional playoffs. But, citing burnout concerns after rehabbing another troublesome malady a year later, Luck retired at age 29.
McGahee began his NFL career injured. Though his career ran through the 2013 season, his most memorable moment may still be the frightening Fiesta Bowl injury. He tore the ACL, MCL and PCL in his left leg in his final college game and could not play during the 2003 NFL season -- his rookie year. But McGahee showed enough at Miami to convince the Bills to draft him 23rd overall -- higher than ex-Hurricane mates Clinton Portis or Frank Gore -- knowing he needed extensive rehab. Debuting in 2004, McGahee notched the first of his four 1,000-yard seasons and played long enough to retire as a top-40 all-time rusher.
Montana could appear on this list twice, having overcome severe back and elbow injuries during his Hall of Fame career. After beating a ruptured disk recovery timetable by returning in two months in 1986, Montana played just one game from 1991-92. Suffering a season-ending elbow injury in the 1991 preseason, Montana needed to have his elbow tendon reattached and a joint issue forced a third surgery in '92. A trade to Kansas City resulted in Montana proving he was not quite done. He returned to the Pro Bowl and piloted the Chiefs to two comeback playoff wins in his two seasons in Missouri.
Peterson does not land here for tearing an ACL, MCL and a meniscus on Christmas Eve 2011. Modern medicine allows for such recoveries. But this cinched up Peterson's case for best running back of his era; Peterson became the standard by which all surgery recoveries are measured. The then-27-year-old running back blazed to one of the all-time great seasons, rushing for 2,097 yards -- eight off Eric Dickerson's record, which was obtained with 41 more carries than Peterson's 348 -- in 2012. "All Day" did not miss a game, totaling 388 touches and carrying a Christian Ponder-quarterbacked team to the playoffs.
Like Peterson, Rivers' malady does not fall into the "devastating" category. However, Rivers knew he had suffered a torn ACL and meniscus going into the 2007 AFC championship game and played through it. Sustaining the injury in the Chargers' divisional-round win over the Colts, Rivers underwent a secret arthroscopic surgery the next day and faced the Patriots six days later. The then-second-year starter did not exactly shine in New England, throwing two INTs in a 21-12 loss, but those Pats did go 16-0 and faced a Bolts team that lost LaDainian Tomlinson during the game. Rivers did not miss a start in 14 years as the Bolts' QB1.
Sayers highlights before his 1968 right ACL and MCL tears are must-watch, even though the Bears did not make the playoffs during the superstar running back's tenure. But Sayers' 1969 season is historically impressive. Knee injuries of this sort ruined careers for decades, but Sayers rehabbed and won the rushing title -- his second in three seasons -- despite not possessing the elite gifts he did pre-injury. He earned All-Pro acclaim in his injury-shortened 1968 slate and in '69. While a left knee injury in 1970 doomed Sayers, he soon become the youngest Pro Football Hall of Famer.
An early-season Rams rout in Washington will be one of this year's defining NFL moments. Smith completed nine passes for just 37 yards but completed an unprecedented comeback to suit up again. Smith's Nov. 2018 broken leg -- 23 years to the day that Joe Theismann suffered a career-ending broken leg no one wants to watch twice -- began a life-threatening sequence that included infections and ultimately 17 surgeries. After missing the 2019 season, the 36-year-old passer is Washington's backup -- to the surprise of just about everyone. Even if Smith does not play again, he still may win Comeback Player of the Year honors.
A dominant prospect who went No. 1 overall to the Colts in 1967, the future "Police Academy"-franchise mainstay was one of the league's top defenders. He helped the Colts to an NFL title in 1968 and a Super Bowl championship three years later. Super Bowl V, however, was Smith's final game with Baltimore. A freak knee injury in the 1972 preseason occurred when he ran into a first-down marker -- formerly anchored by sharp metal points, a setup Smith's setback helped change -- and led to the Colts trading the D-lineman to the Raiders. Smith rehabbed to play four more seasons, though the 6-foot-7 standout was not the same after the injury.
Drafted fifth overall in 2005, Williams showed immediate promise by leading a quarterback-needy Buccaneers team to the playoffs and claiming Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. While Williams never topped this season, it should be noted what the Auburn alum was able to overcome to play until 2011. Williams suffered torn patellar tendons in both knees -- in 2007 and '08, respectively -- and missed 22 games. He re-emerged in 2009 and totaled 1,040 scrimmage yards and seven TDs in 16 games. Williams did not miss a game in 2010, either, collecting more than $30 million in total from the Bucs.
Youngblood submitted one of the most maniacal stretches in NFL history to close out the 1979 season. The Rams sack artist suffered a fractured fibula late in the team's divisional-round win over the Cowboys. The future Hall of Famer played through a broken leg, suiting up against the Buccaneers in the NFC title game and against the Steelers in Super Bowl XIV. And in what should perhaps have warranted a psychiatric evaluation, Youngblood -- who notched a career-high 18 sacks in 1979 -- participated in the Pro Bowl. Youngblood did not miss a game in his first 13 NFL seasons.
Panthers' Matt Rhule non-committal on when Stephon Gilmore will debut .
Matt Rhule made it clear when speaking with reporters Wednesday he's not rushing Gilmore into action ahead of this Sunday's matchup against the struggling New York Giants. "Obviously, I'd love to have him play Sunday," Rhule said of his new cornerback. "Will he play, will he not play? I don't know." Gantt added Rhule and company will first see how Gilmore responds to on-the-field work before determining if the 31-year-old will be activated off the reserve/physically unable to perform list. "Just trying to get him healthy right now," Rhule continued about the process.