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Matt Rhule Panthers Dan Orlovsky

(Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports)

Panthers fire head coach Matt Rhule

Matt Rhule Panthers Dan Orlovsky
(Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports)

Panthers fire head coach Matt Rhule

Amid a dreadful 1-4 start, the Carolina Panthers have fired head coach Matt Rhule, ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported Monday. Rhule, who was three years into a seven-year contract, was 11-27 since taking over prior to the 2020 season.

Schefter also reported that Carolina’s defensive pass game coordinator and secondary coach Steve Wilks, who went 3-13 in one season with the Arizona Cardinals in 2018, will take over as the team’s interim head coach.

Rhule, who was pried away from Baylor on a seven-year, $62 million deal, was expected to be on the hot seat to begin the season. He had yet to win more than five games in his first two NFL campaigns and starting 1-4 while Carolina visibly looked like one of the more lackadaisical teams in the NFL didn’t help matters. And the seat reached its peak after the Panthers’ embarrassing 37-15 loss to the San Francisco 49ers at home Sunday.

Rhule declined to comment on his job status after Sunday’s loss, stating that he had “nothing to say about it now,” repeatedly mentioning that he just wanted to talk about the game.

He’s now the first head coach in Carolina Panthers history to not make it to a third year as head coach, according to NFL Network’s James Palmer.

Carolina’s quarterback situation was murky throughout Rhule’s tenure. But after presumably upgrading from Sam Darnold to Baker Mayfield this offseason, the Panthers still remained one of the worst offenses in football — even with a healthy Christian McCaffrey in the backfield. They currently rank last in offense and last in third-down conversion rate, while it places in the bottom-third in scoring offense, passing offense and turnover margin.

The 47-year-old will presumably draw interest as head coach from plenty of college programs — where he’s had far more success, with both Baylor and Temple — over the next several months. The Panthers, meanwhile, will try to salvage their near-lost season with the Rams, Buccaneers, Falcons and Bengals as their next four games, which won’t be easy.

This is a breaking news story. Stay tuned for updates.

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