The equipment managers pick out the music that plays as Panthers warm up before practice. On Wednesday, their first day at IMG Academy in Bradenton, the players boo the selection, a song that starts out slowly, don't know what it was. Music comes from a box on the sidelines.
On Thursday, the music improves. "Smells Like Teen Spirit," Nirvana, 1991, big hit, Seattle sound, grunge, plays. Yet players are not moved. They simply ignore it and exercise -- except the quarterback. Cam Newton begins to dance, moving side to side, in tune.
Maybe if the music is good enough for him, it's good enough for everybody. Nobody boos.
Newton was two when the song was released.
IMG Academy in Bradenton, Carolina's headquarters Wednesday-Friday, is big enough to accomodate a city. It's 450 acres. It offers football, baseball, basketball, tennis, lacrosse, golf, soccer and athletic and personnel development. It also offers lots of guards. Point guards, quarterback-protectors and security.
Wrote about Steve Smith for Thursday. Will write about Dwan Edwards,31, for Friday. Plan to, anyway. Like his story.
Buffalo releases Edwards, a 6-3, 300-pound defensive tackle, August 31. The Panthers sign him two days later. He misses rookie camp, veteran camp, OTAs and training camp. And he starts.
I don't know him. You don't, either. It's time.