Longtime private quarterback tutor George Whitfield Jr. met with Panthers team officials yesterday, and posted a photo with coach Matt Rhule which alluded to a future project.
One of Whitfield’s first projects was as Newton’s pre-draft quarterbacks coach, helping him prepare before he was taken first overall by the Panthers in 2011.
Team sources told PFT it’s more of a “partnership” than anything related to on-field coaching, but that Whitfield would be around the building.
Whitfield has worked with a number of quarterbacks (including Ben Roethlisberger, Donovan McNabb, and Andrew Luck among others) on an independent basis, and has recently run a “Commander Camp” in California. That camp involved working with quarterbacks on leadership training, with an emphasis on military principles — including time spent on an aircraft carrier and working with Navy SEALs and Marines.
Newton’s future with the Panthers is anything but certain, as he enters the final year of his contract as he rehabs from surgery on the foot injury that cost him most of last season. The Panthers are unprepared to extend his contract at the moment, and recent comments by Rhule left open every possibility from rolling with the former MVP this season to moving on (because with a seven-year contract, Rhule’s is the only job there that’s truly secure).
While having Whitfield around the building in any capacity might not make any difference regarding Newton’s future, it can reasonably be interpreted as a goodwill gesture toward their quarterback. But it’s at least a sign that they’re going to change many things throughout their building as they entrust Rhule to break them out of 25 years of mediocrity (195-204-1).