The field was nearly empty as the Panthers wrapped up their first training camp practice. Most of the fans had emptied the seats at Gibbs Stadium and players retreated to the locker room to shower and eat dinner. And as I took one more glance around the field to make sure I’d caught sound bites from all the players who elected to speak to the media I saw one Panther, who’d stayed to sign all the autographs he could, walking with five helmets in tote. It was one of Carolina’s biggest off-season acquisitions – Gerald McCoy.
I asked myself, was the 10 year veteran getting the rookie treatment? Couldn’t be. Turns out McCoy was just doing what he’s been doing ever since his rookie season – giving a teammate a break.
“I’ve been doing this for 10 years. As a rookie I had to do it. After that, it was just something I like to do for my teammates.”
And McCoy just doesn’t carry helmets.
“When we wear pads, I carry pads too. I even carry rookies pads. Everyone’s out working hard. Everybody needs a break.”
So who gives Gerald a break?
“I don’t take breaks. I’ll take a break when I retire.”
McCoy will be one of the anchors of a defensive line that looks to bounce back after a disappointing season last year and his teammates are impressed with him already.
“We’ve got Gerald McCoy! Have you seen that guy? He’s a freak,” cornerback Donte Jackson exclaimed when asked if having a good pass rush helps him in the secondary.
The Panthers will resume practice tomorrow and when the buzzer sounds indicating the end of another tough workout, McCoy will give a new set of teammates a little break.