Carolina Panthers did not talk to Steve Wilkes about being Frank Reich’s defensive coordinator for the Panthers:Wilkes attorneys say the NFL has a “legitimate race problem”

Panthers reportedly didn’t speak to Steve Wilks about assistant role under Frank Reich
from Mike Santa Barbara, with

On Thursday, the Carolina Panthers passed on interim coach Steve Wilks, instead hiring former Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich for the same role.

As the Panthers’ coaching search concluded, a ludicrous notion began to spread that Carolina would like to have Wilks and Reich on the same staff in a perfect world. According to Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer, the Panthers never had conversations with either candidate related to working together.

“The Panthers didn’t talk to Wilks about possibly being Reich’s defensive coordinator or, alternately, Reich serving as Wilks’ offensive coordinator,” Fowler wrote.

Fowler’s source said discussing the possibility would have been “weird.” They added that Wilks failed to get the Panthers’ job through no fault of his own and that Reich separated himself from the “pack” with his detailed plans for the team.

Wilks not only had the support of the players and the majority of the fanbase, but his presence on the sidelines yielded positive results. Given the interim gig after the Panthers fired head coach Matt Rhule, Wilks turned Carolina around. Taking over after a 1-4 start, the Panthers went 6-6 under Wilks, finishing the year at 7-10.

Shortly after the announcement that the Panthers were going with Reich, attorneys representing Wilks released a statement, voicing shock over the team’s decision while alleging that the NFL has a “legitimate race problem.”

Wilks is a co-defendant in Brian Flores’ class-action lawsuit against the NFL. Flores filed suit against the NFL and all 32 teams in February 2022, alleging that racial discrimination led to his firing as head coach of the Miami Dolphins and blocked him from similar jobs throughout the league.

While the Panthers solved one problem by hiring Reich, they seemingly have a new one in their former interim coach.