|After breakout season, Haason Reddick gets a fresh start in Carolina|
|DE tallied career-best 12.5 sacks for Arizona in 2020|
|Published Wednesday, March 24, 2021|
|PHOTO | ARIZONA CARDINALS|
|Haason Reddick, who tallied 12.5 sacks with the Arizona Cardinals last year, signed with the Carolina Panthers, which reunites him with Matt Rhule, his college coach at Temple.|
He went from a walk-on at Temple, where he played for Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule and defensive coordinator Phil Snow, to Arizona with the 13th pick of the 2017 NFL draft.
Reddick produced 9.5 sacks and 22.5 tackles for loss the last season he played for Rhule, who was the Owls’ head coach. Both have come a long way since their time together in Philadelphia and now they’re reunited in Charlotte after Reddick signed a free agent contract last week.
“When I was at Temple with Rhule and Snow, I was one of the top guys on defense,” Reddick said. “My number was called, and I still want that.”
The Cardinals asked Reddick to shift from edge rusher and outside linebacker to inside linebacker, which would challenge just about any rookie. Learning the position at speed is another matter entirely.
Reddick started three games his first season with the Cardinals, producing 2.5 sacks and 35 total tackles. In his final season with Arizona, he tallied 12.5 of his career 20 sacks, which tied for fourth in the league. He was finally back home on the edge, racking up a season-high five sacks and three forced fumbles in a game against the Giants to earn NFC Defensive Player of the Week.
Adding pass rushers was a priority for Carolina, which managed only 29 sacks last year, and Reddick’s signing fits the description. Defensive end Brian Burns led the Panthers with nine sacks in his second NFL season. Rookie defensive tackle Derrick Brown, Carolina’s 2020 first-round pick, added two.
“I already knew that Carolina had a bunch of good players on their team—great players,” Reddick said. “You’ve got [linebacker] Shaq Thompson, Brian Burns [and] Derrick Brown, who is coming up.”
Reddick said he wants to be the one called on to make plays, but not the only one. He expects to bring leadership to a relatively young defense that started five rookies at times in 2020 as the Panthers went 5-11 in Rhule’s first year as an NFL head coach.
The NFL’s new collective bargaining agreement also means the league could add a regular season game as soon as this season. Reddick doesn’t mind playing more. He is anxious to start the next chapter.
“I always say football is a gladiator sport,” Reddick said. “It could be taxing on the body. It is one more game. I love football, so I love playing. I can’t wait to get back out there on the field already as it is. I have no problems with it. It’s one extra game. I am going to take the same approach I did to all the games before it.”
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