Carolina Panthers interim coach Steve Wilks said “no one is more important than the team” after he kicked out Robbie Anderson midgame in their 24–10 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.
The Panthers wide receiver was seen in a heated argument with position coach Joe Daly late in the first half before resuming their verbal exchange midway through the third quarter. Anderson was on the bench in the third quarter and sat alone on the refrigerator until the second argument.
Wilkes, who first took charge after Matt Rule was sacked midweek, stepped in and sent Anderson to the dressing room.
“There is no one more than a team,” Wilkes told reporters. “I’m not going to focus and give a lot of attention to one person… I don’t put a lot of energy into one person.”
Anderson was linked with a trade from Carolina, and Wilks said when asked about the 29-year-old’s future: “Everyone is being evaluated now, including me.
“We have to figure out what kind of teamwork is right for offensive and defensive play.”
Anderson spoke extensively to reporters after the game, saying he was “honestly puzzled” by the situation.
“I wanted to be in the game. I’ve never heard anyone yell to get out of the game,” Anderson said.
“To be honest, I was confused and upset. I must be. I don’t see anyone who is a true competitor, who knows the value they bring and has a true passion for the game, who would be ok to be told not to do something or be excluded from something when he did nothing. wrong.”
Robbie Anderson speaks to the media https://t.co/bF39zWZmca
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) October 16, 2022
Anderson failed to catch the ball in Sunday’s game, coming into the game with 13 receptions for 206 yards.
The former New York Jets wide receiver signed a two-year, $29.5 million extension to 2023 before last season, but he only had 53 receptions for 519 yards in 2021.
“I wouldn’t say I want to be traded,” Anderson said. “I will let God follow His plans for my life. I will let things take their course in his time.
“I have been in trading rumors before. This is part of the game. I don’t let it affect me.”