Travelle Wharton 6-4, 315-pound, signed a one-year deal with the Panthers on Sunday, via Panthers. Wharton is familiar with many of the guys on the team, guys like Gross and Kalil, Wharton’s current locker neighbor. Speaking of neighbors, Gross and Wharton live in the same neighborhood and they will both save on gas by carpooling, which both are excited about. Wharton calls Charlotte “home” and is happy to be back. Wharton says, it kinda “feels like I never left because the jokes keep coming.”
Wharton was brought in for his veteran experience in the league and his familiarity with the Panthers organization. There were concerns that the coaches had regarding the depth of the O-Line. Injuries had caused some problems. Bruce Campbell, who was to be second string, suffered from a rotator cuff injury. Campbell is one of the guys to be waived and, if not picked up will be transferred to IR.
Another familiar name Jeff Hangartner, “Piggy”, RG, was let go who added some depth to the O-Line. Many of the guys on the team were shocked when the news came that he was let go, signifying that no ones job was permanent.
Edmund Kugbila has also been unable to start, missing valuable time for the rookie guard.
The Panthers O-Line has been in question, causing concern for the stagnant offense. When backs, like DeAngelo Williams, who in the past has put up outstanding numbers, is averaging only 2.43 YPC, there is room for concern. DeAngelo is glad to see his former teammate return tweeting: “welcome back bro we missed you now let’s do work.”
Wharton will more than likely play at the same position that he played when he was with the Panthers– LG. He will also wear his old jersey number #70, via Joe Person. Garry Williams will play RG and rotate with Chris Scott. Wharton is a versatile player, which the Panthers love, having the ability to play LG, RG, or Tackle.
Wharton is a great pick-up because he and Gross have a familiarity, which will help with productivity and communication on the field. With Amini Silatolu hurt with a hamstring injury, Wharton will most likely start in the season opener against Seattle Seahawks on Sept. 8th. The question of what spot Amini will play will be determined by how things play out in the next coming weeks, says Rivera. Amini hasn’t played the RG position; he is a LG. “We’re in a situation right now where were going to miss Amini for a few weeks, so were going to make sure that that position is sured up,” said Rivera.
Rivera feels with the corrections made to the O-Line, they can be “explosive.” Wharton says he is “ready to go.” “The main thing is, coming in and doing my part.” “I think if every one does their job…I think we’ll get [better].” Wharton is planning on making the most out of the “opportunity.”
Written by: Phillip Boyce