Stephen Hill: Cut after ACL tear


Stephen Hill’s season with the Carolina Panthers is over. The former Georgia Tech receiver tore his ACL in his right knee during practice. The team has waived him. Hill joined the Panthers a year ago when cut by the New York Jets. He was signed to the practice squad to see if he could turn into a receiver that Cam Newton could work with. Hill had decent size and a lot of speed, but was inconsistent in catching the ball.

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Hill’s injury might have done the dirty work for the Panthers. Hill had been charged with marijuana periphenalia on Tuesday when pulled over in Concord. The team now does not have to make any kind of position on that legal issue since Hill is off the team.

While this is another setback for Hill, this injury may give him time to focus on what his game needs most. Hill has talent, and no one really questions that. During his time at Georgia Tech, Hill was the successor to Demaryius Thomas and Calvin Johnson. Those were big shoes to fill, and Hill never quite did.

During a game against North Carolina, Hill beat the coverage deep and was wide open for an easy touchdown. The ball hit him in the hands and fell harmlessly to the turf. That one play is the book on Hill, great ability but inconsistent hands.

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Hill’s injury opens the way for undrafted rookie Paul Browning. Browning is a big target at 6’2” 218 lbs with a small school background. He played at Division II Colorado State-Pueblo where they won the national championship. Browning had been a visitor to Browns’ camp before getting waived.

As for the Panthers as a whole, Hill’s departure does not have much ripple effect on the depth chart. He was competing for a spot on the team, not the number 2 receiver role. The guy to watch in camp is Devin Funchess and how quickly he can develop.

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