CHARLOTTE – Brandon Beane was a big part of the Panthers' front office operation for many years, but arguably his greatest gift to the team came in the form of a little-known defensive end he signed off Washington's practice squad when he was interim general manager late in the 2012 season.
In Beane's view, that was the best move he made during his time in Carolina.
"Getting Mario Addison off the practice squad," the Bills general manager said in a conference call with Charlotte media. "There are all sorts of people on practice squads, but how many people make it as long as Mario has made it?"
Very few. And how many develop into starting-caliber players? Even fewer.
But that's exactly what Addison, a former undrafted free agent from Troy, has done.
"I always wondered who it was who recruited me from (Washington), and I was told it was Brandon Beane," Addison said. "It was like a year later, and I just went up to him and said, 'Thank you man.'
"I was determined. Sooner or later somebody was going to give me an opportunity. But it was perfect timing to come here when I did. I got my first start and my first sack in that 2012 season. Everything kind of opened up for me right then and there."
In 2013, Addison played in all 16 games as a key cog for special teams and recorded 2.5 sacks with limited opportunities on defense. He took a big step in 2014, increasing his sack total to 6.5 and then recording six sacks in 2015.
Last year was his major breakthrough, as he led the team with a career-high 9.5 sacks and signed a lucrative extension in the offseason.
Now he's a starter for one of the most talented defensive lines in all of football.
"I saw a skillset that could work in this league, and he made his mark on special teams and as a situational pass rusher," Beane said. "Then he became a force as a pass rusher. You see a young man mature on and off the field, who is a pro's pro and is everything you want in a locker room – guys really respect him – and not only did we re-sign him once but we re-signed him again this year.
"It's just rewarding to see all he's done, and I've enjoyed watching the success that he's had."
View photos from the Panthers' week of practice leading up to their game against Buffalo.