Remembering the 1995 Carolina Panthers: The First Cut Is the Deepest

Peter ComunaleContributor IJune 10, 2010

HOLLYWOOD - MAY 19:  Actor Bill Goldberg attends the film premiere of The Longest Yard at Graumans Chinese Theater on May 19, 2005 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

The 2010 NFL season marks the 15-year anniversary of the Carolina Panthers entering the league. Like any new team just starting out, they were bound to make some mistakes along the way.

With a first-time head coach at the helm in Dom Capers, an expansion draft that could only be described as the best of the worst in the NFL, and three first round draft picks...what could go wrong? Right?

The Panthers had a total of 44 draft picks in its inaugural season, 19 of which would not make it through training camp and over half of which would not make it through the 1995 season.

This comedy of errors draft class included a center who would meet an untimely death at age 39 due to suspected substance abuse and a defensive end by the name of Shawn King who would go on to set new substance abuse standards in the NFL.

There was also a defensive tackle who will forever be linked to the Panthers as the first player ever to be cut by the team.

William Scott "Bill" Goldberg may not be a household name amongst Panther fans or even football fans in general, but to many he is the greatest wrestler that ever lived. That's right...wrestler!

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Known as Bill Goldberg in the professional wrestling community, William was a former University of Georgia defensive end who, in 1990, was drafted in the 11th round by the Los Angeles Rams.

After playing on the Rams' practice squad in 1990 and 1991, Goldberg was picked up by the Atlanta Falcons, where he played two seasons before being cut. Then in 1995, he was taken by the new Carolina Panthers team in the expansion draft with their 33rd pick.

Although Bill Goldberg would be the first player cut in camp by the Carolina Panthers, he would later become one of the most recognizable names in the world of sports and might possibly have the Panthers to thank for that honor.

Had Bill never been released, he may never have had the opportunity in 1997 to enter World Championship Wrestling and later go on to set the record for longest undefeated streak in sports entertainment history at 173.

Goldberg has also held the title of wrestling's World Heavyweight Champion and is recognized by WWE as a two-time United States champion, as well as a former Tag Team Champion with Bret Hart during his time in WCW.

Currently, Bill Goldberg can be seen doing commentary for mixed martial arts. He has appeared on Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice and continues to be a featured actor in major films.

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