CHARLOTTE – Every time the Panthers defense forces a turnover, the player responsible for the takeaway makes his way to the end zone for a celebratory photoshoot. Other players on the defense join him, but there's always one guarantee – safety Tre Boston will be there, and there's a good chance he'll be the most excited out of everyone.
For a defense that ranks third in the league in total takeaways with 19, there have been plenty of end zone parties this season, but Boston has always been a guest, never a host. So, when Boston, the leader of Thieves Avenue, finally got his first interception of the season, there was cause for celebration.
"To be a part of my guys, celebrating with them, finally getting them to celebrate with me, it's been a long time coming," Boston said. "It felt good, I'm not going to lie."
Midway through the fourth quarter, Boston jumped a deep post route intended for Titans' wide receiver Kalif Raymond and returned the interception 20 yards before being brought down. Immediately Boston jumped back to his feet and continued down the field all the way to the back of the end zone for his photo op.
After the game, Boston tried to downplay his interception a bit, claiming the ensuing Thieves picture was no different than the others, but cornerback Donte Jackson said this celebration was particularly special.
"We were telling him we can't wait until you get yours, because it's going to be a party, man. I think everybody on the team told him that," Jackson said. "When a guy like that makes a play, everybody and their mama wants to celebrate with him, because he celebrates with everybody and their mama.
"He celebrates with the holder, he celebrates with the punter, the long snapper, anything just to get his teammates fired up. It's always good to see guys like Tre make plays."
The interception marked the 12th of Boston's career, giving him some ammunition for post-game locker room banter. Boston made sure to joke with Luke Kuechly, asking him how many career interceptions he has, and warning the linebacker that he was hot on his tail. If everything goes according to Boston's plan for the rest of the season, he should catch Kuechly's 18 career interceptions in no time.
"I've got one, so now two and three and four and five, they should all come," Boston said. "It's like LeBron when he said the championships, you know what I mean? But I'm going to get them."