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Quarterback Mac Jones' status up in the air for Senior Bowl


MOBILE, Ala. — The Panthers' American Team roster could be a quarterback short when Saturday's Senior Bowl rolls around.

Alabama quarterback Mac Jones wasn't able to finish Thursday's practice, with an ankle issue bothering him.

Afterward, he said he's not sure if he'll be able to play, and head coach Matt Rhule said he needed to check with the team's athletic training staff before making a ruling.

If Jones is unable to go, the Panthers would be down to former Wake Forest/Georgia quarterback Jamie Newman and Texas A&M's Kellen Mond for the game.

Despite not being 100 percent, Jones has made a positive impression this week.

"I've been really impressed with who he is," Rhule said. "I've been impressed with his character, his moxie, his swag. I mean, he's got it all. You can see why his teammates follow him. He's got a great way with other people.

"He's been a really productive quarterback, and he's shown a lot of things he can do this week. He's really smart, he's accurate, he can move his feet and slide in the pocket. For me, getting to know him, I can see why everyone raves about him and why he's had the success he had."


The Panthers were without three assistant coaches all week because of reasons related to COVID-19, and another was missing Thursday.

Rhule said special teams coach Chase Blackburn flew home to take care of a family issue and would not be back for the game.

Assistant special teams coach Ed Foley took over special teams work Thursday.

The Panthers have been using the practices to give young coaches a chance to expand their work all week to cover the missing assistants. Rhule noted that coaching assistant E.J. Barthel and assistant quarterbacks coach Matt Lombardi called plays during the competitive period of practice, giving them a chance to grow.


At an event sponsored by a candy company, there are samples all over the place, giving the players and coaches plenty of chances to grab a little quick energy.

And while Rhule was willing to step out of his comfort zone a bit, he knows what he likes.

"You know what, they had this Reese's pretzel thing, like a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup with pretzels in it, and that was a whole new world for me," Rhule said. "At the end of the day, I'd always go Reese's Pieces, just E.T., you know, the original."

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