Carolina Panthers edge rusher Mario Addison has been away from his team all week while mourning the death of his brother, Gjamal Antonio Rodriqcus, and his absence will extend to Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans.
Addison learned that Rodriqcus had been shot to death immediately after last week’s loss to the San Francisco 49ers and has spent the week in Birmingham with his family. In a show of support, as ESPN’s David Newton reported, team executives Marty Hurney and Mark Carrier joined Addison at Rodriqcus' funeral on Friday.
Head coach Ron Rivera excused Addison from practice this week, although it was unclear until recently if he would return in time for Sunday’s game.
Losing Addison for Sunday will be a big blow to the Panthers, who look to bounce back after falling to 4-3 last week. Despite turning 32 in September, Addison is off to the best start of his career after switching from 4-3 defensive end to 3-4 outside linebacker.
Addison is tied for 11th in the league with 6.5 sacks and is on pace to set a new career high. He is one of seven players to record at least nine sacks each year from 2016-18.
“He’s been a big part of what we’ve done and the success we've had and the success we’re having,” Rivera said, via ESPN. “He’s most certainly missed, and we most certainly do think about him and pray for his family.”
Addison has helped lead one of the fiercest pass rushes in the NFL this season; the Panthers’ 30 sacks trail only the Patriots despite already having had their bye week. Addison’s absence could mean a bigger role for Christian Miller, Bruce Irvin and Brian Burns, who has been one of the five best rookies in the league this season.
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