Ten questions about life off the field with Carolina Panthers G-C Fernando Velasco:
Q. I lived in Georgia, but I’m still trying to figure out where Wrens is.
A. The big city of Wrens, Ga. Right outside of Augusta, about 20 miles south.
Q. So you didn’t grow up anywhere near Charles Johnson?
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A. Nah, we just became good friends in school (at Georgia). But we’re probably about an hour and a half, two hours away from each other.
Q. Did you guys maintain that friendship after leaving Georgia?
A. No doubt about it. He’s one of my very best friends in the world. We’re very, very close. We talk all the time and try to see each other as much as we can, especially in the offseason.
Q. Can you beat him in basketball?
A. He knows. We played a little ball in this offseason. When we play 1-on-1, I don’t know. But I can shoot better than he can. And I can dunk. He didn’t think I could still dunk, but I got up there. Ask him. He’ll vouch for me. (Johnson confirmed.)
Q. Do you guys vacation together?
A. Yeah, we went to Mexico this offseason, went fishing. We both caught marlins. He beat me. He caught a 106-inch marlin and mine was 100 inches.
Q. I know you were only in Pittsburgh one year, but did you make some strong bonds?
A. No doubt about it. It’s a very close-knit team. On and off the field, just a very close team. Very similar to what’s going on here. Both of them are very classy organizations.
Q. In Pittsburgh, were you a Primanti Brothers guy?
A. I definitely went to Primanti Brothers a time or two. They have some good eating in Pittsburgh, but Primanti Brothers was one of my spots.
Q. Would you do the egg and fries and put it all on the sandwich?
A. I tried to a little bit. Then I started getting my cole slaw on the side, instead of putting the cole slaw on the sandwich.
Q. Do you know what the expression “hog molly” means?
A. I just hear Dave Gettleman says it all the time. Enlighten me a little bit.
Q. It’s a big fish, but he’s talking more about guys like you (6-4, 310 pounds).
A. Really? OK. Everybody always says it and I definitely heard him say it all the time. But I didn’t know where it all started.