The New York Giants sent a deluge of Super Bowl rings to the Carolina Panthers this offseason in the form of Chase Blackburn and Domenik Hixon. Big Blue let these two walk in free agency but Carolina blue has plenty of need at the linebacker, wide receiver and special teams areas, and former Giants special teams coach Thomas McGaughey has the ear of the new Panthers general manager.
“Tom came through my office door like a fullback running downhill and he said, ‘You’ve got to look at this guy,’ ” said Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman, via The Charlotte Observer. “I was shocked that he passed through waivers. It was a big bonus for us.”
Gettleman came straight out of the Giants front office to join the Panthers this offseason, so it’s no surprise that Carolina drafted defensive ends in both rounds one and two, or brought in two longtime Giants contributors in Hixon and Blackburn. It also helps that Hixon has come up huge in both the kick return game and at wide receiver over the years for the Giants, notching six catches for 114 yards against the Philadelphia Eaglesin Week 5 last season when Hakeem Nicks was ailing.
“When it came down to the last two minutes, having the ball and needed a score (or) needed a stop, we felt like we were going to get that,” Hixon said. “Just that culture to win. It takes time to build. It doesn’t just happen overnight. And I see that being the thing here, ending last year and hopefully getting a great start to this year. Just keep it rolling, and get that winning culture.”
Hixon provides a nice supplement to Steve Smith and Brandon LaFell at receiver and could bolster the kick return game as he did in New York.