Carolina Panthers’ third-string quarterback Matt Corral is saying all the right things.
When asked about the cryptic social-media statement he posted after the Panthers selected Bryce Young first overall during last month’s NFL Draft, Corral denied speculation it was directed at the franchise. He suggested it was personal.
When asked about his status on the team. He admitted to going through some trying times during an injury-plagued rookie season. But now feels “blessed” to be feeling healthy and on the roster.
When asked if he has spoken with general manager Scott Fitterer about other opportunities around the NFL, Corral sounded steadfast following Monday’s OTA: “If it was up to me, I don’t want to be traded.”
From frustration to contentment.
It’s a different year for Corral.
Matt Corral: ‘Controlling What I Can Control’
A 2022 third-round draft pick, Corral competed for a starter’s role up until a preseason Lisfranc injury sidelined the rookie for the season. Considering the Panthers started three different QBs last season, there is little doubt Corral would have received a chance if he was healthy. He missed a prime chance to establish himself as the franchise’s long-term starter.
But that’s part of Corral’s new mindset. Control only what is controllable.
When asked about the biggest difference from a year ago, Corral said: “I would definitely say just my patience for myself and being able to have that perspective because, I mean, it’s hard. When you go to college, you’re running the show, and now there’s a bit of a learning curve. You get hurt last year, again, uncontrollable. And then we get a new coach, new staff, new everybody around here, and then it’s a new system. It’s rolling with the punches, controlling what I can control.”
How’s this for personal and professional perspective: “You catch yourself in your head,” he said. “You have negative thoughts, and the more you continue to not listen to those thoughts and do more positive self-talk, do more. You might not execute the rep right in practice, but as long as you learn it, watch the film, correct it, and be OK to live with that and then move on. Not just keep harping on it that you missed that simple play. And I think that’s been the biggest thing for me.”
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Corral faced internal criticism for posting “Then the father said: I wanted to let you know that you are not worth anything if you are not in the right place. if you are not appreciated, do not be angry.
“That means you are in the wrong place. Don’t stay in a place where no one sees your value.”
Facing the media for the first time, Corral attempted to clarify the message.
“The post on draft night, that had nothing to do with football,” he said. “Had zero to do with football. Me and Reich had that conversation and like he said, that’s going to be between us, but it was a good conversation. There’s still stuff I’m figuring out outside of football but it’s nothing but positive thinking. I’m learning and growing every single day.
“It was just personal stuff. Just my social life and my relationships with the people that care about me and I care about them. Had nothing to do with football.”
Listed behind preseason starter Andy Dalton and Young, Corral spoke with Reich about his future. With the NFL adopting a new rule to allow teams to carry an emergency QB on game days, Corral understands there is a roster spot to be claimed.
Detailing his new mindset, Corral said his journey back started when he put on his cleats injury free.
“I felt like I was a little kid back in pee wees again,” Corral said. “And it was just a surreal moment. It was a grateful moment for sure.”
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