Carolina's mini-camp is not open to the public. But if it were, I'd love to know how many of you would have joined me there Friday morning.
You have to love the NFL to stand on a hill in the relative cold and watch players you have heard of and players you have not go through drills and run patterns without pads.
And thousands of you do. You'd look at the quick cuts, the nice catches and the dropped passes for the same reason you'd look at a Lamborghini crusing by at 45 mph.
The Panthers might move at half speed, but it's still football. The NFL is how we spend our Sundays in the fall. There are moments Friday when we're reminded why.
Look at 253-pound tight end Jeff King sprint down the middle of the field, lose safety Cam Newton with a quick cut and break free.
"Look at those wheels," a teammate yells as King grabs the long pass and runs halfway up the hill. "Wheels of steel!"
Steve Smith works against Garnell Wilds on the left side. The ball is up and Wilds -- like King a Virginia Tech man -- knocks it down. Wilds shakes his head as if to say, nobody beats Garnell Wilds deep.
A few plays later Kerry Colbert beats Garnell Wilds deep.
Jonathan Beason, Carolina's first-round pick, holds up his helmet after practice like a kid at show and tell.
"You know what," says Beason, a linebacker out of Miami. "You look at this helmet. This is an NFL helmet."
He's thrilled to wear an NFL helmet. He's less thrilled about carrying the helmet of teammate Terrence Melton, a linebacker out of Rice with four years of NFL experience. But this is what rookies do.
Ever hear of Melton?
"I don't know who the guy is," says Beason. "But I've got his helmet."