CJ Anderson is hoping to make a serious dent in the NFC South this year. The free agent running back says he loves getting "nasty in the trenches" and running physically.
That's always a fit in Pantherland. Most notable about Anderson though - his choice of practice clothing. Even in the heat and humidity of summertime South Carolina, Anderson goes to work in a hoodie and full sweatpants.
While insane on the surface - Anderson says that the added weight of the clothing, combined with his voracious sweating, makes him work even harder to be fast in practice.
Much like swinging a heavy bat in the on-deck circle, practicing with all the added clothing makes him feel extra fast once the season arrives and he's just running in pads and a uniform. He told me he has no trouble replacing the weight he sweats off every day. six years in. It's worked so far, so why change?
Former UNC man Andre Smith showing the sled who’s boss pic.twitter.com/1ew41DvDZI— Mark Armstrong (@ArmstrongABC11) July 27, 2018
Ryan Kalil has been a rock at center for the Panthers for the past 11 years. His 12th season will be his final, and while he told me that while he's got some sentimentality, most of his farewell emotions were handled in OTAs (I think we need to check back with him as the season closes).
He spoke of being mentored by the Panthers' vets when he was young and how he's taken on that role himself. Kalil even shared his "welcome to the NFL moment." It was a rookie-year game against the Houston Texans where he surrendered three sacks. He was beaten and down on himself, but his teammates helped pick him off the mat.
Supportive teammates aside, Kalil said the most important thing about being an NFL player is believing in your talent and not letting the inevitable humiliations that come with playing against incredible athletes get the best of you long term. Pick yourself up and move forward.
We were supposed to speak to Cam Newton on Friday night, but after 45 minutes of waiting, we were told that his post-practice treatments were taking longer than normal and he no longer had time before a team meeting at 7:30.