In a distant time, long ago when players hit hard in training camp, rookie Mike Minter crashed into Rocket Ismail, sending his helmet flying and leaving him writhing in pain and with three different injuries that sidelined him for three weeks. Today, Rashaan Gaulden hit veteran Jarius Wright in the endzone, which sent both the players and Twitter into a panic. They just don't hit like they used to, and on a day where Ross Cockrell heard his leg crack in practice and a day after Daryl Williams dislocated his right patella and tore his MCL, we're probably glad it's a thing of the past.
Watching the tweets fly after Gaulden collided with Wright, you'd think that he had clean took his head off like Minter did in 97. The hit was hardly bone-crushing and the ear-full that Gaulden would get from his teammates, coaches, and Twitter is amusing when you think of Minter stating during his first training camp and after leveling Ismail that, "First of all, I'm an aggressive player. I love to hit.''
Rivera came over for a heart to heart with Gaulden. Teammates telling him: “Got to be smarter than that.”— Max Henson (@PanthersMax) July 30, 2018
Rookie S Rashaan Gaulden just laid out WR Jarius Wright. Got his head. Needless to say no one is happy with Gaulden, who's filling in for Mike Adams (vet day). Ron Rivera spoke to him on the side. Devin Funchess had some words. Wright got up after a while and said something.— Nick Carboni (@NickCarboniWCNC) July 30, 2018
Rashaan Gaulden just laid out Jarius Wright in the back of the End-zone. Not a smart play, which several of his d teammates are reminding him of. And now Ron Rivera is.— Joe Person (@josephperson) July 30, 2018
After the hearing Funchess scold the rookie for a "stupid play," Gaulden drew the ire of Defensive Coordinator Eric Washington and next Head Coach Ron Rivera. When addressing the media after practice, Rivera tempered the discussion a little by stating he was mostly concerned with using it as a moment to discuss the new rules about helmet contact and hits to the head that are certain to draw a lot of subjective confusion this season.
Carolina hasn't really had an answer at safety since Minter retired in 2007. They've tried a patchwork of players over the years that haven't delivered the stability that Carolina had when Minter was knocking guys out back there. While everyone scolds Gaulden for the contact, I can only hope that he can be that answer that Minter was for a decade.
By Tony Dunn
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