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Chase Blackburn: Panthers seem like a championship-level team

Then-Giants linebacker Chase Blackburn reacts after sacking quarterback

Then-Giants linebacker Chase Blackburn reacts after sacking quarterback Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers in the second quarter at MetLife Stadium on Nov. 25, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J. Credit: Getty Images / Al Bello

Chase Blackburn helped the Giants win two Super Bowls. He also played for the Panthers. And he’s starting to see similarities between the two franchises that haven’t always been very evident.

“Carolina, from when I got there, they’ve really evolved over the last few years,” Blackburn told Newsday in a recent telephone interview. “They’ve become a franchise that players enjoy playing for too, and I don’t know that that was always the case.”

One of the reasons, Blackburn said, actually came directly from the Giants. Dave Gettleman worked in the Giants’ front office from 1998 to 2012. In 2013, he was hired as the general manager of the Panthers.

“I would say that was a big part of it, yes,” Blackburn said. “He’s helped that team tremendously.”

Blackburn signed with the Panthers in 2013 and played two seasons for them. Those were developmental seasons for the team. Cam Newton was a third-year quarterback when Blackburn arrived. Ron Rivera was a third-year head coach.

Now they are undefeated at 13-0, Newton is the presumptive MVP candidate, and Rivera seems to be pushing all the right buttons toward a Super Bowl title.

“When I first got there it had a different feel than it does now,” Blackburn said. “It feels like a championship level team in confidence and expectation, which is what the Giants have always had since I’ve been there. The Panthers are moving in that direction, but the Giants have had that for a long time.”

New York Sports