Michigan Panthers head coach Mike Nolan talks of roster changes

Wide receiver John Hightower, Philadelphia Eagles
Wide receiver John Hightower, Philadelphia Eagles. Hightower was waived by the D.C. Defenders and picked up by the Michigan Panthers. (philadelphiaeagles.com)

Among recent changes in Michigan Panthers head coach Mike Nolan’s training camp was the retirement of quarterback Davis Cheek.

“We’re going to retire him,” Nolan said. “He has some personal things that he had to take care of and wasn’t in a position to stay here.”

“This gives us an opportunity to bring in another quarterback,” Nolan added “It  looks like right now we would likely bring back Brian Lewerke who we had let go.”

On the receiver side of the Michigan training camp, the Panthers recently added wide receiver John Hightower. Hightower was signed by the D.C. Defenders on February 15, but waived in the roster cutdown on March 10, 2024. The Panthers picked him up on March 14, 2024.

“I think Hightower was a good addition for us,” Nolan said. “I was a little taken aback when he was let go, as he played well in our scrimmage against D.C. But, they had thirteen wide receivers on the roster, so they had to do something.”

Nolan is high on his receiver squad, and considers his current receivers as a strong group who are working hard and have the necessary experience to guarantee winning ways.

“A few of them are very familiar with the offense, because they were at Philadelphia before, and then there’s a few of them that were not, but they’ve really done a good job of learning it,” Nolan explained. “Hopefully, we perform well in the games.”

On defense, Nolan feels the Panthers have upgraded the secondary with the addition of new players.

“We let go of people like Saba, Rahman and Evans,” Nolan pointed out. “Those are tough guys to let go of, but we really felt that the new guys we had added kind of upgraded the position.”

As for his specialist group, Nolan has indicated those positions are not yet set.

“It’s still open,” Nolan confirmed. “Still open for competition. We’ve got the three to go on, but they’re still competing to be a part of it.”

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