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Undrafted Elijah Holyfield has a fighter’s chance to make Panthers – Carolina Panthers Blog

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carolina Panthers running back Elijah Holyfield was 14 when he stepped into the boxing ring against a highly ranked 16-year-old. It was a chance to make a name for himself in a world where his father achieved greatness, maybe even carve a path to his own career in the sport.

Evander Holyfield, a four-time heavyweight champion and the only boxer to hold undisputed titles in two weight classes, was confident that his son was up to the challenge.

“I remember saying, ‘He can handle that guy. Just don’t tell his momma, because I know she’s going to think about all the fight this guy has,'” the elder Holyfield recalled last week during quarterback Cam Newton’s celebrity kickball tournament, which was held while Elijah participated in a Panthers rookie minicamp.

“He was rugged and hit real hard.”

Elijah hit real hard, too. He was holding his own in the match, but unlike his father he had a habit of holding his head up and exposing his face to punches instead of his forehead. That led to a nosebleed and a disqualification.

Elijah never stepped back into the ring competitively.

“I was, ‘I don’t want to get hit that much,'” Elijah recalled. “So I just kept with football, and it’s worked out for me.”

Whether Elijah becomes the real deal in the NFL the way his father was in boxing remains to be seen. The Panthers signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Georgia after a slow 40-yard-dash time of 4.78 seconds at the NFL combine hurt his draft stock.

His undrafted status means he has a lot to prove in the hotly contested battle to back up Christian McCaffrey, who last season fell just shy of becoming the third back in NFL history to have 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in the same season.

Among Holyfield’s competition is fifth-round pick Jordan Scarlett out of Florida and 2015 fifth-round pick Cameron Artis-Payne, along with Elijah Hood and Reggie Bonnafon.

Again, Evander believes his son is up to the challenge.

“It’s kind of disappointing he wasn’t drafted,” he said. “The fact of the matter is, it’s part of life. If you’re fast enough and score touchdowns, what difference does it make [what your 40 time was]? If it just had to do with how fast you are then they would have all the track stars go in the NFL.”

Bad decision?

Had it been up to Evander, his son would have stayed at Georgia one more year.

“I felt that was a bad decision,” he said. “Didn’t nobody inform me of anything. I read it in the paper. … You had a lot of people saying, ‘You don’t understand.’ I said, ‘It’s not like I don’t understand. You start something, you finish it.’

“But it has been made already, so you might as well push forward and make the best of it.”

At Georgia, Elijah split time with rising junior D’Andre Swift, and the backfield would have been more crowded this fall at Georgia with James Cook emerging and Zamir White returning from injury.

“Just trying to figure out the options for me, where I could have the most success at,” Elijah said of his decision process. “Would I have had a better season and made myself better or wasted a year?”

He ultimately decided not to risk potential injury. He rushed for 1,018 yards and seven touchdowns last season and averaged 6.4 yards per carry, believing that proved he was ready for the NFL.

“I’m a very hard worker and a very physical runner who does have speed to make people miss at the same time,” Elijah said. “So I feel I bring a nice element to this team.”

The Panthers believed what they saw on tape made up for his 40 time.

“You really see the explosiveness between the tackles; you see his ability to run between the hashes,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. “I know he didn’t run a good 40 time, but when you put the tape on … it was pretty impressive.

“I don’t think [the 40 time] really speaks to who he is as a football player. It’s one of those things, it doesn’t add up.”

Finish what you started

Evander gave up football for boxing at about the same age Elijah gave up boxing for football.

It was his 10th-grade year for now-defunct Fulton High School in Atlanta. Evander, then around 110 pounds, told the coach he wanted to play running back and linebacker.

The coach gave him a choice of offense or defense.

“I said, ‘If a guy hits me, I’m going to hit him back,’ so I went defense,” Evander said. “I wanted to play linebacker. He said I was too small, so they put me at corner. He didn’t like it because I was hurting the good guys.

“He said I wasn’t playing the position right. I said, ‘I didn’t ask to play that position.’ He picked me up by my shoulder pads and put me on the bench. I didn’t get a chance.”

But Evander didn’t quit. His mother mother said, “Go back, you still have to finish.”

“She said, ‘Son, when you box, you’re the last one to make a decision. Coaches make a decision in football who is the best,'” Evander said. “I was Holyfield then, but nobody knew who I was.

“So I went back.”

That mentality is what Evander always tried to instill in Elijah, who before high school moved out of the home of his mother and stepfather and into his father’s 44,234-square-foot mansion, which is now owned by rapper Rick Ross.

Elijah and Evander got up for early-morning runs and workouts with a personal trainer. They spent a lot of time talking about what it took for Evander to succeed in boxing, something Elijah hopes he brings to football.

“Just the mindset,” said Elijah, who achieved black-belt status in taekwondo, working with five-time Pro Bowl linebacker Greg Lloyd. “You have to have a very strong mindset with working out in boxing and also fighting, just winning one-on-one.

“I try to bring that to football any time it’s a one-on-one.”

Just dad

Growing up, Elijah never looked at his father as a boxing legend the way many do, including the herd of autograph seekers at Newton’s kickball tournament.

“I just kind of looked at him as dad,” he said. “I never looked at him as this big figure until now. I always get asked about him. I realize how big of a figure he was.”

A hard worker is what Elijah saw in the man many remember for having his ear bitten off in a 1997 bout against Mike Tyson.

“If you outwork people, you always end up on top,” Elijah said of his dad’s life lessons. “That’s what he did. That’s what I plan on doing.”

Evander compared his son’s challenge to the one he faced after winning a bronze medal in the 1984 Summer Olympics, when he turned pro.

“It’s a brand new start,” he said. “You’ve got to prove it again. You played college ball. You played well. Now that’s behind you. You’ve got to realize you have to take it up another step.”

Going undrafted has given Elijah even more motivation “to show what what I can do.”

“I just tried to find my own way,” Elijah said. “And I found it with football.”

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NFL preseason Week 2 takeaways

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Welcome to the NFL, rookie.

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones fumbled twice but also led two scoring drives Friday against the Chicago Bears. That came one night after Arizona Cardinals rookie quarterback Kyler Murray looked uncomfortable against the blitz of the Oakland Raiders.

We have all that and more in the biggest takeaways and fantasy football nuggets of the preseason’s second week from NFL Nation:

Jump to a matchup:
PHI-JAX | NYJ-ATL | CIN-WSH | GB-BAL | OAK-ARI
BUF-CAR | CHI-NYG | MIA-TB


Friday’s games

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Josh Allen goes 9-for-11 with more than 100 yards passing as the Bills handle the Panthers in their second preseason game.

Efficient offense and stifling defense defined preseason game No. 2 for the Bills, who built a 24-3 lead in the first half. Josh Allen fed Cole Beasley often, completing all five of his throws to the former Cowboy. Allen finished 9-for-11 for 102 yards and led a pair of scoring drives. Isaiah McKenzie (one catch, 37 yards) and Duke Williams (three catches, 38 yards, touchdown) seem to have surpassed Ray-Ray McCloud on the depth chart at wide receiver. Defensively, Buffalo’s first unit dominated a Carolina offense missing Cam Newton, Christian McCaffrey and Greg Olsen. Kevin Johnson‘s pick-six will stand out at the tail end of a week in which the Bills sent one cornerback to injured reserve (E.J. Gaines) and signed another (Captain Munnerlyn). — Marcel Louis-Jacques

When recently asked what he’s looking for in a backup to quarterback Cam Newton, Panthers coach Ron Rivera said, “somebody who can win.” Nothing Kyle Allen or Will Grier has shown through two preseason games indicates that either can consistently do that. Allen got the start Friday with the first team, minus running back Christian McCaffrey. He was a dreadful 4-for-11 for 32 yards, including two passes tipped at the line of scrimmage. Grier’s second pass was intercepted and returned 70 yards for a touchdown. He almost threw another pick and finished 10-for-19 for 75 yards. It isn’t unreasonable to think that Taylor Heinicke, who has been the forgotten man in this battle, might have earned a right to be considered after his fourth-quarter performance. As good as Newton has looked in practice at times and as much quality work as he got against Buffalo’s first-team defense on Tuesday and Wednesday, he still hasn’t faced live action as the Panthers remain cautious following his second shoulder surgery. Allen and Grier have gotten their chances, and as of now, the backup job has to be a toss-up. — David Newton


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Eli Manning completes all four passes he attempts on his only drive, including a touchdown pass to Bennie Fowler.

Preseason football has almost no real value to Bears coach Matt Nagy. Chicago announced about an hour before kickoff that 26 of its key players would not play a snap against the Giants, including quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and pass-rusher Khalil Mack. The Bears didn’t even suit up rookie third-round running back David Montgomery, who probably won’t play again until the regular-season opener versus the Packers on Sept. 5. Look for more NFL teams to follow Nagy’s lead and hold controlled scrimmages during training camp, as opposed to risking injuries to important players in preseason contests. — Jeff Dickerson

It was Eli Manning‘s turn to be perfect while rookie Daniel Jones had his ups and downs in his second game. Manning went 4-for-4 with a touchdown pass against the Chicago backups before giving way to Jones, who fumbled twice on his first three ineffective drives. But the rookie bounced back before he was done and feathered a perfectly placed fade to the corner of the end zone for a touchdown on his final possession. Overall, Jones finished 11-of-14 for 161 yards with a touchdown pass and two fumbles. It was enough to remind everyone that he still needs some work, but there is hope that he can be the star franchise quarterback the Giants envision. — Jordan Raanan


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Josh Rosen completes 10 of 18 pass attempts for 102 yards in the Dolphins’ loss vs. the Buccaneers.

Josh Rosen got his first start with the Dolphins and another big opportunity to make his push for the starting quarterback job. He flashed his ability on a few throws while playing the whole first half and made a poor decision that should’ve been a pick-six. Ultimately, it was just an OK day for the young quarterback (10-of-18, 102 yards). Fortunately for Rosen, Ryan Fitzpatrick (3-of-9, 20 yards) did even less, other than running over a Buccaneers safety, in just over a quarter of action. Fitzpatrick has been the leader in the clubhouse all spring and summer, and nothing Rosen did Friday changes that, but this battle should still be up for grabs as we head into the all-important third preseason game. — Cameron Wolfe

Offensive line depth is a concern right now, with the Bucs surrendering 11 quarterback hits and three sacks. Jameis Winston‘s sack on the opening drive was the result of a busted protection, which allowed Jerome Baker to rush completely unblocked (O.J. Howard ran to the flat). Bucs quarterbacks were under duress a lot Friday. No one has stepped up as a bona fide backup tackle — Cole Boozer struggled mightily against Charles Harris and Tank Carradine, and Caleb Benenoch looked extremely inconsistent. On the other side of the ball, the defense made a nice stop after Andre Ellington‘s fumble (kudos to Deone Bucannon, Will Gholston and Beau Allen here). After dropping an easy interception in the first half, cornerback Jamel Dean got a pick in the end zone in the fourth quarter, and Shaquil Barrett, Kevin Minter, Jack Cichy, Devante Bond, Demone Harris and Patrick O’Connor all made key plays, so it was a much better night for Bucs backups on defense. — Jenna Laine


Thursday’s games

Carson Wentz should not touch the field this preseason. The QB injuries are piling up for Philadelphia. Cody Kessler was knocked out of the game in the first quarter Thursday because of a concussion, one week after backup Nate Sudfeld went down because of a broken wrist. Coach Doug Pederson has been ratcheting up the intensity at practice to give the first team quality work in a controlled environment. He should continue on that path and keep Wentz out of harm’s way until the regular-season opener against Washington. The Eagles will probably have to add another arm in the coming week with Kessler in concussion protocol. — Tim McManus

QB Gardner Minshew needed a bounce-back performance after really struggling in the preseason opener, and he delivered: 19-for-29 for 202 yards in three quarters despite being under pressure from the edge pretty much the entire night. Minshew lost a fumble after getting hit (right tackle Leonard Wester got beaten badly) and saw a touchdown pass called back because of a block-in-the-back penalty by tight end Ben Koyack. Minshew also put together a solid two-minute drive at the end of the first half that resulted in a field goal, giving the Jaguars their first points of the preseason. Minshew was clearly much more comfortable than he was last week. He was decisive and got the ball out quickly, which are encouraging signs for the Jaguars — who again sat the majority of their starters — because they’re counting on him to be the backup to Nick Foles. His performance Thursday pretty much cemented that. — Mike DiRocco


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Sam Darnold links up with Quincy Enunwa and Robby Anderson before Ty Montgomery plunges in for a 1-yard TD run.

Playing behind a makeshift offensive line, QB Sam Darnold opened with a TD drive for the second consecutive week. The tempo was fast, and Darnold was in command. It’s early, but he seems to have a firm grasp of the new offense. Big concern: RT Brandon Shell injured his knee in warm-ups, becoming the third offensive lineman to go down because of an injury. Chemistry will be an issue in Week 1. — Rich Cimini

There has to be concern about the offensive line during Matt Ryan‘s first appearance this preseason. Ryan was sacked three times and threw under duress too much while completing 10 of 14 passes for 118 yards. Ryan absorbed some good hits, something you never want to see in the preseason. Right tackle Ty Sambrailo didn’t look like a starter, and backup center Wes Schweitzer, among others, had some issues. The Falcons are playing without two injured players who were thought to be on track to start: left guard James Carpenter (quadriceps) and rookie right tackle Kaleb McGary (heart procedure). Jamon Brown could start at left guard, and McGary, if healthy, should surpass the struggling Sambrailo at some point. — Vaughn McClure


Rookie Ryan Finley made a strong case to be Cincinnati’s No. 2 quarterback this season. The fourth-round pick out of NC State followed his preseason debut with another strong performance. Excluding a spike at the end of the first half, Finley was 20-of-25 passing for 150 yards and two touchdowns. The rookie steadied the Bengals after a start riddled with miscues. He led Cincinnati’s second unit on a 12-play, 93-yard drive that took 7 minutes, 36 seconds off the clock in the first half. From there, the team found its rhythm, as the visitors scored 23 of the final 30 points. Halfway through the preseason, the rookie has completed 75% of his passes for 259 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. — Ben Baby

The Redskins hoped the preseason would identify their No. 1 quarterback, but after two preseason games, that hasn’t happened. Colt McCoy can’t yet play because of issues with his leg, and Case Keenum has been ordinary in two starts. He’s still adapting to the offense and getting in sync with his receivers, but being in a competition makes it tougher to build that chemistry. Rookie Dwayne Haskins shows more big-play potential — as evidenced by his 55-yard touchdown pass to Robert Davis. He isn’t afraid to challenge down the field, but he also hasn’t shown enough to seriously test more experienced players. But with what those players have shown, it’s hard to believe Haskins won’t be used at some point this season. — John Keim


It might be too soon to say the Packers have a serious problem with their run game — after all, neither Aaron Jones nor Jamaal Williams (both have hamstring issues) has played a snap in the preseason — but the installation of new coach Matt LaFleur’s outside-zone-oriented scheme has been rough. The Packers totaled just 7 yards rushing on seven attempts in the first half a week after they had only 38 yards in 13 carries in the first half against the Texans. That’s 45 yards in 20 carries when the opponents were playing starters or key backups. Any hope that sixth-round rookie Dexter Williams could serve as a change-of-pace back looks bleak, given his inability to hang on to the ball (he dropped a pass and couldn’t secure a handoff in which a fumble was charged to the quarterback). Tra Carson has been the starter in the absence of Jones and Jamaal Williams, but he’s averaging just 1.7 yards per carry. As much as LaFleur’s offense centers on the run game and what it can do for play-action, he needs to know if the lack of production is because he doesn’t have his top backs or because the scheme hasn’t taken hold. — Rob Demovsky

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Lamar Jackson breaks free for an 18-yard touchdown, but it is nullified because of Willie Snead IV’s illegal blindside block.

Lamar Jackson continues to improve as a passer, but — as the Ravens’ starting quarterback showed and said Thursday — he’s still at his most dangerous when running with the ball. On third-and-10, Jackson saw his receivers covered and took off, faking out Tramon Williams in the open field before leaping over Jaire Alexander to reach the end zone. The spectacular 18-yard touchdown run was nullified by Willie Snead‘s illegal block, but that doesn’t erase another highlight-reel moment that will keep defensive coordinators up at night. “The four-man rush gave me a lane,” Jackson said, “and I just did what I do best.” Jackson finished 6-of-10 passing for 58 yards, leading the Ravens to field goals on both of his drives. — Jamison Hensley


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Rex Ryan contends that Kyler Murray and the Cardinals’ offense are going to get smoked in Week 1 of the season.

The Raiders’ defense, with a cast of new characters headlined by middle linebacker Vontaze Burfict, looks much improved — or at least it did in this second preseason outing for both teams, with Oakland harassing No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray into a 3-for-8 passing night for 12 yards, and defensive back Lamarcus Joyner sacking the nimble Murray for a safety. In four series, the Raiders’ starting defense let Murray run only once — for 4 yards. In fact, Joyner’s safety came on the third consecutive blitz dialed up by defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. At one point, the Raiders had outgained the Cardinals 231-12 in total yards. Also, rookie Josh Jacobs looks primed to be the Raiders’ feature back, starting and carrying the ball four times for 21 yards on their opening touchdown drive with Derek Carr under center, as the Raiders’ starting offense played only one series. — Paul Gutierrez

Thursday night was one to forget for Kyler Murray. The rookie quarterback went 3-for-8 for 12 yards with a 4-yard run and looked out of sync in the four possessions he played, which went into the second quarter. He was flagged twice for false starts because of his clap snap and once for delay of game and went down in the end zone to avoid a sack for a safety. Although, yes, it’s still the preseason, and the Cardinals are running a vanilla offensive scheme, there were some issues that Murray and the Cardinals need to clean up. — Josh Weinfuss

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Giants QB Jones faced with fumbles, ‘adversity’

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Daniel Jones‘ second preseason game had its ups and downs. It began with two fumbles in the first three possessions before finishing with a touchdown pass.

By the time Jones’ evening ended in the New York Giants32-13 preseason victory over the Chicago Bears, he had gone 11-of-14 passing for 161 yards with a touchdown pass — and two fumbles.

“We were a little loose with the ball. I think we had a fumbled snap, which is a no-no. And then certainly can’t drop the ball in the pocket like Daniel Jones did,” coach Pat Shurmur said. “He had a little bit of adversity to fight back from. … But for the most part he threw the ball well.”

It still didn’t help his cause to start Week 1 against the Dallas Cowboys. That job belongs to Eli Manning, who led the Giants to a touchdown on his only drive when he completed all four of his passes for 42 yards, which included an eight-yard touchdown pass to Bennie Fowler.

After the game, Shurmur backed up what owner John Mara said earlier this week about his desire for Manning to start and play well this season, which would leave Jones without playing a single snap.

“John owns the team, right? And we’re on the same page,” Shurmur said. “Really not much more to say. And I think I’ve been saying that all along. I just guess get a sense once in a while that when I answer those questions, nobody believes me. Well, you heard it from the owner.”

The touchdown pass came after a drive where the Giants settled for a field goal. Jones perfectly floated the ball into hands of T.J. Jones in the left corner of the end zone for his second touchdown pass in as many games. It’s throws like this that spawned the nickname Danny Dimes, which Jones gave his stamp of approval.

“That’s all right with me,” he said.

The fumbles are pretty much the only big mistakes during Jones’ first two preseason outings. The first on Friday night came when he mishandled a snap after driving the first-team offense down the field deep into Chicago territory.

“Yeah, just getting out too quick,” Jones said. “So I’ve got to make sure I’m secure with the ball, secure with the snap.”

The next miscue came after a three-and-out where Jones threw his first two incompletions of the preseason. He had completed his first eight passes between the opener against the Jets and his first drive on Friday night.

Chicago linebacker James Vaughters came flying through on a blitz in the second quarter and cleanly knocked the ball out of Jones’ right hand. Vaughters recovered deep in Giants territory.

“Guy got beat, swatted it out of his hands. That’s it,” Shurmur said. “He has to secure it.”

Jones wasn’t happy with what unfolded early in his evening. Fortunately, it didn’t ruin the night.

“I was very upset,” he said. “I think those are two mistakes you can’t make. One time we were driving with the ball in scoring position and I made a costly mistake there, and then kind of holding the ball in the pocket, two bad mistakes, so definitely things to learn from.”

The fumbles don’t appear to be a long-term concern for the Giants. There hasn’t been anything in practice that indicates Jones has a propensity for fumbling.

“I don’t think he ever took a snap under center in college. Part of the growing,” Shurmur said. “But he didn’t panic. Dropped the ball a couple times, didn’t call his parents. Did a good job getting the ball into the end zone.”

Shurmur did address the plays with his young quarterback during the game. His message was simple.

“Don’t drop the snap. And two hands on the ball in the pocket,” Shurmur said. “It’s never acceptable to drop the ball. Be smart enough to know that immediately. Make corrections. It’s that simple. I don’t have to write him a note. I just tell him.”

Jones bounced back well — also not a surprise to the Giants.

“Again I’m going to say this. People outside our building seem surprised. We’re not,” Shurmur said. “I think he’s making good progress and as he goes along here he’s checking off all the boxes. When it’s his time to play, he will be ready. So I’m pleased with the progress he’s making.”

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Reid rips Jay-Z over Kap remarks, deal with NFL

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid on Friday blasted rapper Jay-Z for suggesting “we’ve moved past kneeling” during the national anthem as a protest against social injustice.

Reid also suggested Jay-Z’s new partnership with the NFL to help with entertainment and social justice was a “money move” that undercuts former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has been without an NFL job since the 2016 season when he and Reid began kneeling to protest police brutality and social injustice.

Reid, who made his remarks while wearing a black No. 7 Kaepernick jersey with “#IMWITHKAP” on the front, kneeled during the anthem before Friday night’s exhibition game against Buffalo, just as he has every game since arriving at Carolina last season.

“For one, when has Jay-Z ever taken a knee to come out and tell us that we’re past kneeling?” Reid said. “Yes, he’s done a lot of great work, a lot of great social justice work.

“But for you to get paid to go into an NFL press conference and say that we’re past kneeling? Again, asinine. Players Coalition 2.0, he got paid to take the bullets he’s taking now because we’re not having it.”

Reid has been hammering Jay-Z on Twitter since the partnership with the league was announced earlier in the week.

Responding to one tweet, Reid wrote: “You & some others seem to misunderstand that we had no beef with the NFL until they started perpetuating the systemic oppression that we are fighting by blackballing Colin and then me. Nah I won’t quit playing but I will be a royal pain in the NFL’s a** for acting like they care about people of color by forming numerous disingenuous partnerships to address social injustice while collectively blackballing Colin, the person who brought oppression and social injustice to the forefront of the NFL platform.”

Reid said the NFL is hiding behind Jay-Z’s “black face” with the new deal.

“The [injustice] that’s happened to Colin, they get to say, ‘Look, we care about social justice, we care about the black community because we’re with Jay-Z,'” Reid said. “Jay-Z is doing the work for them. We all know that it’s unjust that Colin isn’t in an NFL locker room the way he lost his job. But they get to pretend they care about social justice.”

The NFL Players Association filed a grievance against the league in May 2017 on behalf of Reid and Kaepernick, alleging collusion among league owners to deny them jobs for the 2018 season.

The Panthers signed Reid to a one-year deal in late September with the approval of new owner David Tepper, a move most in the organization thought never would have happened under former owner Jerry Richardson. Reid got a three-year, $22 million deal this past offseason.

Reid has continued to kneel during the anthem and has remained outspoken on social injustice. He also waged a battle with the Players Coalition after it received about $89 million from the league for efforts and programs to combat social inequity.

Reid called Philadelphia safety Malcolm Jenkins, a co-founder of the coalition, a “sellout” for the deal after last year’s game against the Eagles.

“I could be completely wrong, but since the $89 million dollar announcement with the Players Coalition, what’s come of that?” Reid said. “We get to pretend we care about social justice. We get to pretend we care about the black community, and we get to hide behind Malcolm Jenkins’ face, and we get to hide behind Jay-Z’s face and not do anything.”

Asked if it would be better if Kaepernick had a seat at the table in all of this, Reid said, “It would be better if Colin had a job.”

Reid said he has lobbied for Tepper to hire Kaepernick.

“It’s the same thing everybody says: ‘We have a quarterback, we have a backup,'” Reid said.

After watching Carolina backups Kyle Allen and Will Grier struggle in a 27-14 loss to Buffalo, Reid was asked if Kaepernick would be a good candidate to backup starter Cam Newton.

“Colin can help every NFL team, first and foremost,” Reid said. “We did not play our best football tonight. So I’m not going to throw our guys under the bus and say they should lose their jobs. We all played terrible today. But Colin can help out every NFL team.”

Reid said the window for Kaepernick to get an NFL job is shrinking and that the move by the NFL to partner with Jay-Z fits the pattern he has watched happen over the past year.

“Jay-Z made a money move,” Reid said. “He’s capitalized on this situation. Nobody to my knowledge talked about social justice before Colin started protesting. That was not a topic of the NFL off the field. For Jay-Z to come in and partner to address social justice, do it behind Colin’s back, get paid to do it … I don’t have words.”

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