Naturally, Carolina Panthers nickel corner Captain Munnerlyn got the first words in at his press conference on Thursday afternoon.
He’s going to bring the chattiness and scrappiness he’s notorious for to training camp. Even in spring workouts, Munnerlyn had to be pulled away from backup quarterback Derek Anderson after the two got into a bit of a dust-up over some contact in team drills.
“It’s all fun and games man, it’s football,” said Munnerlyn. “We know sometimes it can be heated.”
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Plus, he sees the urgency in the organization to win. Now.
“You look at what we did this offseason, bringing a guy like myself back. Signing (Matt) Kalil and keeping these pieces together. Going into the draft and getting Christian McCaffrey, Curtis Samuel, things like that,” he said. “We’re trying to win now. The window is closing on some of these athletes, but at the same time, you can tell with this organization that they want to win now.
“They’re two years removed from the Super Bowl, they want to get back and they want to win it.”
We’re trying to win now. The window is closing on some of these athletes, but at the same time, you can tell with this organization that they want to win now.
Panthers cornerback Captain Munnerlyn
Munnerlyn watched from afar in Minnesota as Carolina’s secondary imploded after two rookie corners, James Bradberry and Daryl Worley, were thrown into starting roles.
The result was not pretty. Opposing quarterbacks, Munnerlyn said, were licking their chops at the sight of the two.
“It’s hard to win in the NFL with two rookie corners,” said Munnerlyn.
Bradberry and Worley have made enormous progress, but Munnerlyn is expected to develop them even further.
“On my visit, when I was talking to coaches, that’s what they brought me back for – to be a mentor,” he said. “To go out there and compete at the nickel position, play at a high level, and bring the young guys along. Competition is the key, man.”
No more secondary slip-ups. Especially, Munnerlyn said, because this team does have a window.
First, Munnerlyn needs to get healthy. He strained his hamstring almost two weeks ago while training in his hometown of Mobile, Ala., and was held out of Carolina’s first training camp practice on Wednesday night.
“My trainer back at home, he told me we were done for the day. I was like, ‘Nah, man, I feel good! Let’s do something extra!’ You know, thinking I’m still 21, 22 years old. ... Nah, I’m not that young anymore,” he laughed.
“But like I said, I feel fine. I definitely made weight. Shoot, I made it real well. I’m 11, 12 pounds under. I definitely made weight, I’m excited about that. It’s a process, I have to take care of my body better I guess, and listen to my trainer when he says, ‘you’re done’.”