Like any huge Carolina Panthers fan, I hawk the NFL headlines every single day looking for any new information about my beloved team. Wide receiver is one of the positions that I know we need help in, so I was rather excited when I saw a headline that said, “Panthers sign wide receiver” earlier today. Immediately I clicked the link and discovered that they had signed former Hofstra and AFL standout Chris Manno.
Who is Chris Manno?
I had no idea who Chris Manno was. Like any self-respecting writer I started digging.
I found out that Chris Manno played his college ball at Hofstra alongside NFL star Marques Colston. That piqued my interest as Colston regularly has torched the Panthers. As far as the NFL, he was around for the preseason as a Kansas City Chief in 2011, but did not make the roster. He did play in the former AFL 2 and earned All-Pro honors there. All in all, his resume is rather laid back and uneventful. He looks like a marginal player in college that overachieved after school.
Then, I saw that he was 5’11” and only 185 pounds and that he runs a 4.46 in the 40-yard-dash. When you consider that height and weight is usually fudged, this guy sounds a whole lot like Steve Smith as far as stature. Why would the Panthers bring in a guy that is clearly a slot receiver at best? We need a possession type receiver the last time I checked.
Is there an ulterior motive here?
Many of the Panther’s off-season moves have been slanted towards special teams improvement. Perhaps Chris Manno is a special teams ace, then? At his size, that is hard to imagine. The word on him is that he is a hard worker and that he is cagey between the lines. A hard-nosed guy with plenty of speed is certainly a good thing to have around if you are struggling on special teams. Still, can Carolina afford to keep a guy around just to boost special teams? Especially at a depth-weak position like wide receiver?
Chris Manno may not have a huge resume and tons of experience, but in looking at some of his workouts he certainly seems to have heart. If bringing this kid in will push the special teams to new heights then I am all for it. I can’t help but think about Vince Papale of the Philadelphia Eagles and what he did for that city. Heck, Papale even inspired a movie starring Mark Wahlberg that I could actually stomach. That was a miracle in itself.
Perhaps Chris Manno can do the same for our Carolina Panthers. A man can dream, right?