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Panthers HC Matt Rhule reportedly told Eli Apple he’d ‘never play anywhere again’

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You can’t tell former Carolina Panthers cornerback Eli Apple anything right now. After all, the guy’s about to be playing in the biggest game in all professional sports in a few weeks.

But Matt Rhule, reportedly upon parting ways with the defensive back last season, did indeed try to tell him something.

According to a “very close source” cited by Panthers beat writer Sheena Quick, Rhule allegedly told Apple he’d “never play anywhere again” after cutting him from the team in 2020. The 2016 first-round pick, after signing a one-year, $3 million deal that offseason, was released on Oct. 27 after appearing in just two games for Carolina.

If Rhule did tell him that, he was wrong. Apple has since landed back on his feet with the Cincinnati Bengals, where he started in 15 games during the regular season for the newly-crowned AFC champions.

A scathing report earlier in the campaign from Joseph Person of The Athletic also shed some unfavorable light on Rhule. The story described the emergence of a prickly culture—one where the second-year coach told his players he could be getting paid more in college, reprimanded another for signing autographs and displayed favoritism towards guys he previously rostered at Temple and Baylor.

Well, someone is still playing at the moment—and it isn’t anybody on Rhule’s team.

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