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Adam Thielen has become the calm in the storm for Panthers

Adam Thielen

CHARLOTTE—When flying, if things get rough and turbulence hits, passengers know to look at the flight attendants. If they are calm, everything will be OK. No matter the bumps, no matter the dips, those who have been there a thousand times before know how to stay steady.

In the Carolina Panthers locker room, that is Adam Thielen.

"A steady hand, years of experience. He's been in situations like this before," interim coach Chris Tabor said Wednesday of his veteran receiver. "Watching a true pro's pro go through something like this as a young player, you should be over in the corner, watching how is Adam Thielen handling this? He's been playing a long time. This is what he's doing in this situation, I can learn from that and that's only going to extend my career.'"

Thielen is wrapping up his 10th season in the league and first with the Panthers. At 33-years old, he is the oldest member of the offense other than back-up quarterback Andy Dalton . And each year of that experience gives Thielen not only credibility amongst his team, but a deep well to draw upon for himself.

Asked what those things are that Tabor wanted his other guys to notice, Thielen said, "I think just the stuff that got me to where I'm at, just really focusing on the process, focusing on things that I can control individually, and then trying to be positive and have the right mindset day in and day out for my teammates. And just trying to be there to help and lead where I can."

Adam Thielen, Bryce Young

Through a 2-14 season, in which rookie quarterback Bryce Young has been thrown into the deep end, Thielen has been a buoy, providing his young passer not only with a reliable option when things fall apart, but someone to whom he can come anytime his head is under water.

"Adam has so much experience," Young said. "He's definitely someone I've definitely asked a ton of questions to, just being able to be in communication with him, see the game, how he sees it, just being able to grow alongside him, it definitely helps me. Obviously that's a huge accomplishment. It speaks just to the player he is, the person he is, how hard he works. I'm very grateful for Adam."

On the field, Thielen has over 100 receptions this season, with a game remaining, and he's become one of four players in franchise history to top 100 catches and 1,000 receiving yards in a season. His 101 receptions are tied for eighth in the league and is the second-most in his career. Of that feat, he joked, "Some guys make it look a lot easier than others. For me, it hasn't been easy." With each catch though, the goal was the same; prove he would be there whenever Young needed.

"I think it's your job as a receiver with any quarterback, whether he's young, experienced, I think it's to prove that you're going to be in the right spot at the right time," Thielen said. "Every time you are out there on that field, you have an opportunity to prove what you can do to that quarterback or to that offense coordinator, to that staff, to show what you can do."

Panthers 100/1K Club

Table inside Article
Player Year Receptions Rec. yards
Steve Smith 2005 106 1,355
Muhsin Muhammad 2000 108 1,254
Christian McCaffrey 2019 109 1,156
Adam Thielen 2023 101 1,002

Thielen's 101 receptions are 58 more than the next closest receiver on the Panther squad. And each one serves as motivation for those around him.

"It's really difficult (to do)," receiver DJ Chark Jr. said. "Definitely in the circumstances that we've had this year, to continue to work hard and find a way to make that happen. I think that's huge.

"It just gives you the motivation to stick in there, hang in there and whenever you get the right situation and things roll your way, you make the most of them, and that's what he's done. So, I've definitely tried to take a page out of his book."

DJ Chark, Adam Thielen

No matter what happens on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, this will be the worst record Thielen has been a part of since entering the NFL. That same NFL career though, has been long and at times tedious. It's why he can remain so calm now. Through every bump, every bit of turbulence, every opportunity to worry, Adam Thielen has stayed the same. It's perhaps the best lesson he can teach Bryce Young and the youthful offense.

"My advice is every time you get an opportunity to step on the field, it's a blessing," Thielen said. "And there's hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands of people that would rather be in that spot than you and so you have to take advantage of every opportunity to show that you belong in this league."

Adam Thielen brought his family to the Carolinas and they displayed their Panthers pride on Tuesday after Thielen officially signed with Carolina.

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