If Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Kyle Love was fired up to play the Patriots in the preseason, imagine his level of hate for his former team had the Panthers met New England in Super Bowl 50.
Love spent three seasons with the Patriots and was a starter in their Super Bowl loss to the Giants four years ago. But New England cut him in 2013 after he’d been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
He hasn’t forgotten.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say that I accept it because it’s always going to bother me. There’s nights that I have cried about it,” Love said Wednesday. “It’s something that I’ll probably never get over. But I’ve got to keep moving forward with my life.”
Love signed with the Panthers late in the 2014 season and promised “pain” when Carolina faced the Patriots in an August exhibition. He said he was pulling for the Patriots to beat Denver in the AFC Championship Game so he’d get another shot at Tom Brady on the world’s biggest stage.
“I told (reporters in August) I couldn’t wait and there was going to be pain brought,” Love said. “So for us to be able to play them in this big game, it’d be even more pain being brought.
“It’s funny. Before the (preseason) game we played them Tom came to me and told me, ‘Hey, take it easy on me.’”
Love, who had three sacks during the regular season, will have to settle for trying to get one against Peyton Manning in what is expected to be Manning’s final game.