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Volume 26 No. 5
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NFL Panthers Put Focus On Players' Mental Health With New Hire

Guerin hopes having someone on staff will help build trust with Panthers players
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

The NFL Panthers have "made an investment" in the area of mental health with the hire of Tish Guerin as Dir of Player Wellness, making her "one of the first in-house psychological clinicians" in the league, according to Jourdan Rodrigue of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. Guerin said she wants to show the "benefit of having someone full-time on staff who the players can use as a resource," and hopes there will be "fewer issues or recurrences off the field." She noted the "hope is that anything that could have been taking them out of their head for the game (will be gone), because they’re talking to someone about it and working through it." Guerin "pitched the idea of an NFL team creating a position for an in-house clinician two years ago, to a contact at the NFLPA." Teams usually "hire out contractors with private practices, but Guerin thought having someone within the franchise would create more trust with players." She plans to "build upon programs that were already in place" under former Panthers Dir of Player Engagement Mark Carrier, but she will also "create new ones." She said that she "wants to foster an environment that’s 'open to being open,' and a culture that normalizes mental-health check-ins as routinely as player physicals." Guerin will also "work with players’ families as needed." Guerin said, "When people hear the words ‘mental health,’ they sometimes think ridiculous things. Mental health can sound very taboo. But what it is is working with someone so that you can work through all of your issues -- things that are frustrating you, bothering you. Things you’re thinking about" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 9/30).

CHANGING TIMES: CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora reported there was no "input from the ownership" before the team signed S Eric Reid last week. There was "no conversation about, 'Will you kneel, or will you stand?'" and no talk "about collusion cases." La Canfora: "It was actually refreshing to go behind the scenes and find out that it didn't take a lot of hand-wringing, it didn't take having to convince an owner, it didn't take anybody having to get on the phone with Eric Reid himself and feel him out." CBSSN's Amy Trask said, "Based on my experience in the league working with the prior owner, Jerry Richardson, I can assure that would not have been how this transpired, and I can assure you he would not have been signed." CBSSN's Adam Schein said that he asked Panthers TE Greg Olsen about the team signing Reid last week. Schein said Olsen said, "You're right. Old owner? Not the case" ("That Other Pregame Show," CBSSN, 9/30).