It’s been hard to tell at times whether defensive tackle Kawann Short was still with the Panthers or not this season.
But he left an impression on Saints quarterback Drew Brees yesterday, hitting him in the face and giving Brees a bloody lip after Brees threw a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.
“It looked like he just straight punched me in the mouth,” Brees said, via Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer. “That’s what it felt like and that’s what it looked like on the Jumbotron.
“Listen, I’ll take the 15 yards [for a personal foul] every time, but we got the touchdown.”
Short said it wasn’t intentional, and that the diminutive Brees’ size was a factor.
“I was getting outside to contain and I just threw my hand up,” Short said. “And at the same time, he’s a shorter quarterback so it just happened to hit him in the face. It wasn’t on purpose. It wasn’t out of frustration or nothing. I was just doing my job.”
Short was flagged on the play, and will almost certainly be getting fined for the hit to the head.
Money has been hard to come by for him this year, as he failed to get a long-term contract this offseason, even after the Panthers pulled the franchise tag from cornerback Josh Norman. Since then, Short hasn’t done anything to get richer. He has followed up his 11.0-sack breakout season with a single sack in six games, hardly setting the stage for the lucrative extension he was looking for in the wake of deals such as Fletcher Cox’s.
And the Panthers have been coming up short as well, as the absence of interior rush only underlines the lack of edge pressure they’ve been getting (and that highlights their planned inexperience in the secondary), as they’ve slogged to a 1-5 start.