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A night of firsts and lasts


SPARTANBURG, S.C. – For a second, it looked like Cam Newton's first pass of training camp might be intercepted by – of all people – perennial practice nemesis Thomas Davis.

A second later though, rookie receiver DJ Moore found himself in the right place at the right time to secure the pass that Davis had deflected.

"I couldn't have scripted a better way to start practice than to come away with an interception, but another thing is you don't really want to start your season out with your starting quarterback's first pass being an interception," Davis said, trying to claim he chose not to pick off the pass before backing off that line of logic. "DJ is an amazing player. I'm glad to have him on our football team. He was drafted in the first round for a reason, but I've got to be better in that situation."


For Moore, it was his first training camp practice as a pro, and he was nervous.

"They're always clowning me for being nervous," he said. "It went smoother than I thought it would."

For Davis, a rookie in 2005, it might have been his final first training camp practice.

He too was nervous.

"I still have those jitters. I still get excited about playing football," Davis said. "It never goes away. This is a special opportunity each and every time you're able to take to the field in this league, and for me it's no different going into my 14th season.

"I enjoy every day that I get to come out here and compete with these guys, and I'm fully embracing it with the uncertainty of my future past this year. I'm really enjoying this moment."

While Moore is at the very beginning of his NFL journey, Davis and center Ryan Kalil find themselves on the opposite end of the spectrum. Both said following the 2017 season that 2018 would be their swan-song season, though Davis has since said he'd like to keep playing into 2019.

Kalil said he didn't catch himself thinking about Thursday's practice as the first of many lasts.

"I didn't. I decided I wasn't going to do that, that I was just going to focus on the work and just continue to get better and try to find a way to help my team win," Kalil said. "That's the most important thing. The memories I want to make are on Sundays."

Kalil did, however, share an amazing memory – specifically about his first training camp practice back in 2005.

"My first training camp practice? I remember I was really upset about my number because I was 67 in college," he recalled.

Kalil had worn No. 65 during offseason workouts as a rookie, but 67 became available the day before the first practice of camp when defensive tackle Jordan Carstens was waived because of health concerns.

"Sixty-seven was available, but it had belonged to a buddy of a bunch of guys on the team, and they decided I wasn't worthy of the number yet," Kalil said. "(Jordan) Gross said I couldn't have it.

"I remember being really pouty about it. I was 65 – a gross, disgusting number. Slow, unathletic. I overcame it obviously, and then the next year Jordan let me have my original number."