Rhule the roost: Coach’s wife keys Panthers pick

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — When Carolina Panthers coach Matt Rhule said the NFL draft would be a collaborative effort, most assumed he meant with first-year general manager Scott Fitterer.

It turns out Julie Rhule also is a part of the process.

Rhule got a text from his wife 10 minutes before Carolina made its fourth-round selection on Saturday. She insisted he take Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard, who rushed for 171 yards and two touchdowns against Rhule’s Baylor team in 2019.

That’s exactly what happened.

Rhule shared the text with Hubbard when he called to inform him he’d been selected with the 126th pick. That was shared by the team website on social media. There also is a cameo by team owner David Tepper, who confirmed the text.

Here’s how the conversation went:

Rhule: “What’s up, man? You know, I couldn’t sit there and watch you run wild on me all those years at Baylor and not take you when I had the chance.”

Hubbard: [Laughs] “Yes, sir. I appreciate it. Thank you for the opportunity.”

Rhule: “This is true. I’ve gotta tell you this, man. About 10 minutes ago, my wife texted me and said, ‘Please take Chuba Hubbard.’ So she speaks, it happens.”

Hubbard: “Yes, sir. Excited to be there with y’all.”

Tepper: “That’s actually an absolute true story. He showed me the text. She said: ‘You better come home and you better have [Hubbard].’ I’m telling you the truth. It’s the damn truth.”

The Canadian-born Hubbard actually grew up a fan of former Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and cheered for Carolina in Super Bowl 50 following the 2015 season.

He’s also a fan of Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey, considered one of the best all-purpose backs in the NFL. Hubbard says he models much of his game after McCaffrey’s, particularly when it comes to receiving.

Apparently, Rhule’s wife already is a big fan of Hubbard’s.

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