The day after their NFL season ends, there are certain things the Panthers do every year. They always report early -- usually by 8 or 9 a.m. They always go to the big meeting room to hear their current head coach tell them to go home, enjoy themselves for a little while and then come back for offseason training sessions ready to work.
Then they leave, the belongings from their lockers generally stuffed into trash bags. They are interviewed on the way to their cars by assorted media people and say things like they are looking forward to healing up and competing again next year (Jake Delhomme and Jordan Gross on Monday said exactly that sort of thing).
It's not a real glamorous day, but it's a useful one.
The oddity this year? The head coach almost always has a "end-of-season" press conference after the players leave. This time, there was none of that -- Panther coach John Fox didn't want one.
What does that tell you? Well, I put a lot of my educated guesses about Fox's current contractual situation in today's column for The Charlotte Observer.
Basically, I think Fox didn't want to dance around questions about his contract situation in public, but I would imagine his agent is having plenty of discussions in private. Fox has one year left on his deal and it sounds like Jerry Richardson is going to take a "wait-and-see" approach on whether he will coach the Panthers after the 2010 season.
So you've got a stalemate, and someone at some point is going to have to break it. In the meantime, I'm not holding my breath awaiting a Fox press conference anytime soon.