Tom Sorensen

Short takes: Panthers faithful, Terrell Owens, NASCAR & millenials, Johnny Manziel

Carolina Panthers tight end Jason Vander Laan played quarterback at Ferris State.
Carolina Panthers tight end Jason Vander Laan played quarterback at Ferris State. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Faith is important. So I believe. I believe that this year I will find on the field of Wofford an obscure player that is having a great training camp. I believe that I’ll write about the guy. I believe that, unlike all those that come before him, he won’t be cut after I write about him.

I’ve seen receivers Austin Duke and Mose Frazier do good work at the training camp of the Carolina Panthers. But you know them. Here’s one you might not know – Jason Vander Laan, a tight end and former college quarterback out of Ferris State. Ferris State is in Big Rapids, Mich. The man can play. …

The NFL Hall of Fame induction ceremony is Saturday and inductee Terrell Owens won’t be there. That’s OK, right? If it were you and I, we’d go, and be so proud we’d bring with us as many family and friends as we could. But we weren’t inducted. Words to live by: Focus on the ones that show up. …

Johnny Manziel will start Friday for the Montreal Alouettes. A former first-round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns, Manziel washed out of the NFL, beaching up in Las Vegas. But do you remember how good he was at Texas A&M, dodging tacklers and flinging the ball around?

Maybe Manziel is to football what Jimmer Fredette is to basketball. Fredette was a good college player and a first-round pick whose skills didn’t transfer to the big leagues. …

A guy I know, smart guy, says that the reason NASCAR and other racing organizations struggle is because millennials don’t like cars the way pre-millenials do. I don’t know if that’s true. Any time something fails, or our city turns into one very large apartment building with a dog spa, we blame millennials.

I’m not blaming anybody. I love cars. I have to idea how they work. I was giving a neighbor a jump start, about to hook up cables when somebody yelled, “That’s not the battery!” Oops. To drive a car and have it respond is beautiful. Throw in a good sound system, and that three-hour drive suddenly becomes shorter. …

Who has time to dig up Tweets that are old enough to be in fourth grade? Why would you? Life offers great mysteries. This is one of them. . …

Carolina Panthers Curtis Samuel is happy to be running routes and competing while working his way back from injury.

It’s great to see Curtis Samuel, the Carolina Panthers’ second-round pick in 2017, practicing in pads. Because he was injured last season, we’ve forgotten him. He’s no longer the new guy. But trust me. The man can move. …

Is there a player you watched in college, a player you were convinced could play in the NFL, yet is not in anybody’s training camp? Who?

Tom Sorensen is a retired Charlotte Observer columnist. Sign up for his newsletter, and follow him on Twitter: @tomsorensen

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