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Did Panthers player fall asleep on the sidelines during loss to Pittsburgh Steelers?

NFL players are known not only for what happens on the field but also for what happens on the sidelines — from tantrums to sneaking a quick meal — but Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Kyle Love was in the spotlight for something different after the team’s 52-21 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Sports news outlets, including Bleacher Report, are wondering if the 310-pound Love fell asleep during the Thursday night game, based on a video clip widely shared on Twitter, YouTube and the Carolina Panthers Fans Facebook page.

“Was he taking a nap? Praying? Thinking?” asked sports writer Larry Brownof Yardbarker. “Maybe he’ll catch some crap in the film room for that — if he’s awake for it.”

Love is a popular member of the Panthers team. Known for his sense of humor, he posted a Valentine’s Day romance advice video under the name Dr. Love. He is also known for working through a diagnosis of Type II diabetes to win a spot on the roster in 2014.

TotalProSports.com said the moment was captured when cameras cut to the Panthers’ sideline late in the fourth quarter. The cameras “caught” Love “casually taking a nap on the bench,” the site reported.

NotSportsCenter got more than 4,000 responses to a tweet showing 31-year-old Love relaxing peacefully: “If you thought the Panthers defense looked like they were sleeping against the Steelers,” said the tweet, “it’s because they actually were.”

Adam Weinrib of 12Up.com couldn’t help but make multiple jokes at the Panthers’ expense, noting many fans wanted to do the same thing as they watched the game.

“If you stayed awake for the end of Panthers-Steelers...you one-upped one specific member of the Carolina Panthers,” wrote Weinrib.

“Kyle Love couldn’t stomach the action on the field, so instead he poured up a glass of warm milk and tucked himself in during this unseasonably warm night in Pittsburgh.”

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Like many sportswriters, Dark Snark’s Randy Oliver admitted he wasn’t sure if Love was actually sleeping, but that didn’t stop him from taking jabs at the Panthers.

“In Kyle Love’s defense (the only defense for a Carolina player all night), the entire Panthers team was asleep during Thursday night’s 52-21 blowout loss to the Steelers,” Oliver wrote.

Love had yet to respond to the jokes early Friday.

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Mark Price: 704-358-5245, @markprice_obs
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