We ask 10 questions of Panthers rookie punter Brad Nortman:
Q. Is it fair to say most guys dont grow up dreaming of being a punter?
I wasnt one of them either. I was more concerned about being a linebacker or tight end. I played those positions in high school, too. My dreams (were) there. But sometimes you just have to take the gifts God has given you and make them go your way.
Q. What led you to become a punter?
As a kid, playing youth football, I was a pretty big kid who was kind of athletic and had a live leg. No one else took the duties so I just kind of stepped up and did it. It was a field changer back then, too.
I did it all the way through high school and at the end of my junior year there was a national punting and kicking camp in Las Vegas. I thought Id give it a shot just to see how I compared to the other guys in the country and it turned out I was pretty good. I wound up getting some good scholarships.
Q. When youre out and people ask you what you do, do you tell them you punt?
It depends on the situation. It depends where you are. You get some of those loyal fans in Wisconsin who can talk for hours about when you did this or when you did that. Its great sometimes and sometimes its great to be quiet.
Q. Have you ever had to explain what you do to anyone?
Sometimes Ive run into some different girls who dont quite understand whats going on.
Q. Is saying youre a punter a good pickup line?
Ive got a serious girlfriend. But when we started dating, I didnt tell her I was the punter on the team at Wisconsin for a few weeks.
Q. Youre from Brookfield, Wis., nearby Milwaukee and played at Wisconsin. Are there Wisconsin stereotypes youd like to explode?
The cheese curds are as good as advertised if not better. The milk there is unlike any other milk. But were not just about cheese and milk. The cities are great. We have a lake house in northern Wisconsin thats great. I miss home a little bit but I love Charlotte.
Q. What are cheese curds?
When you get the cheese going, the top of the cheese curdles up and its a little bit harder. You kind of scrape it off the top and you put it in balls. Theres a place that fries them. Theyre incredible. Fried cheese curds. Youve got to do them.
Q. Cheese curds arent big here but barbecue is. Have you learned about North Carolina barbecue yet?
Ive still yet to experience but Ive heard it will leave its mark on you.
Q. When the Panthers worked you out prior to the draft, wasnt it a pretty miserable day?
It was what I dont miss about Wisconsin. It was early April and it was about 35 degrees with 30 mile an hour winds. We did it in my home town in an open stadium and the wind was rushing in like crazy. Its things like that I dont miss.
Q. Is Madison really the best college town in the country?
Hands down. Absolutely. Everybody that goes there and comes out says it is.
Q. As a punter, do you have to do anything extra like carry things for the offensive or defensive players like rookies?
Just the ball bag once in a while outside and maybe bring in some coffee and doughnuts once in a while. Thats just a rookie thing.