RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Since being hired in January 2020, Panthers head coach Matt Rhule hasn't been able to spend much time with fans because of the pandemic until Tuesday night when he sounded the siren at the Carolina Hurricanes game.
"I appreciate the fans," Rhule said. "I'd say tonight if there's anything that's had me excited it's being here, seeing the crowd. I'm still excited from doing that. Seeing the crowd, seeing the energy, I think they've done an amazing job. It gives you so much excitement about sports is back."
Because of the pandemic, Rhule has yet to coach in front of a packed Bank of America Stadium and seeing a full PNC Arena excites him for the upcoming season.
"I took a video, I sent it to my son," he said. "Then, I sent it to McCaffrey and a couple of other guys. This is coming. I can't wait."
The Panthers will have new players on the field this season, most notably quarterback Sam Darnold.
"I'm a coach," Rhule said. "I like to coach. I like our team. I'm excited to get them back out there. We have a lot of work to do. I'm really excited to get to training camp and get down to Wofford and get around the fans, try to build a brotherhood, a team slowly and then hit the season and try to go make something happen.
The Panthers haven't made the playoffs in three seasons, whereas the Carolina Hurricanes have played in the postseason the past three seasons, something Rhule says can be contagious.
"I think the thing we say, every team in the NFL says they want to go to the playoffs so who is willing to put the work in, who is willing to be there. I love the way our team has worked during OTAs we have a bunch of guys that are working hard. We're acting like a playoff team we just have to go do it on the field."