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Bryce Young's family shares in his "natural progression" with confidence, comfort

Bryce Young

SPARTANBURG – For all the things Bryce Young does well – leading an offense, timing his throws, or putting on a performance in front of his teammates – he can't literally do it all.

And that's OK. 

Young's 22nd birthday coincided with veteran report day at training camp, and he waited until he got a practice under his belt to actually celebrate. He'd been setting a tone around Wofford, getting himself acclimated in the four days prior, and he wanted to stay locked in on that task at hand.

The Young family – father Craig, mother Julie, and their NFL quarterback son – is a tight-knit one, but they're also an understanding one. They hadn't missed a birthday before, but the process called for a delayed celebration.

Craig Young, Bryce Young, Julie Young

"He was at camp, and he is very, very focused," Craig said. "So what was most important to him on his birthday was being with his team and being with his guys, putting that at the first and forefront. Sometimes, as a family, that was hard, because we want to take him out and do all that stuff."

"That was a first for us," Julie chimed in, laughing.

Don't worry; they took Bryce to dinner after he finished his first training camp practice. That day, Frank Reich named the Panthers' first overall pick the official starter, to little surprise, and Bryce took to the lectern following practice with a more relaxed attitude than the Charlotte media had seen with him to that point.

His parents looked on, beaming with pride from beside the media tent, while Bryce chuckled about the upcoming vocal performance he'd give his teammates and how he wasn't quite sure yet how he'd spend his first NFL paychecks, fielding his regular football-related inquiries with poise – but a different kind.

Perhaps it's been the extra moments around Wofford, that bonding around team meetings and rookie talent shows, or eating every meal with his teammates at the facility, that have helped Bryce open up during his time in upstate South Carolina.

Julie Young, Craig Young

Craig, a mental health professional, said he sees Bryce's preparation and dedication (the same level that caused him to have to push his birthday dinner by a day) as the reason for his son's growing comfort.

"I think it's a natural progression," he said. "I think he's more comfortable because, obviously, he's getting older. And he's settled in the city. He's a professional. He's a professional athlete. And he's acting like a professional.

"I think, because he's so prepared and spent so much time with his preparation, it allows him to be more confident. I'm seeing that. I've just seen the natural evolution of him becoming just an amazing young man."

Craig and Julie are seeing a lot of Bryce's development upfront, as they've spent every practice morning in Spartanburg.

"I think it's just what we do," Craig said. "I mean, it's kind of what we know. (We're) really here just to let him know, in our small way, that he's not in this alone. That we're here supporting him and that we're here to be in whatever capacity he needs us, but also let him know that in the midst of all this, he does have some support."

When Bryce answered a post-practice question about his parents (in front of them, mind you) after his first day of training camp, he flashed a more laid-back demeanor in front of the media. This was after he joked that he only talked to them about once a month, but he couldn't keep a straight face through that one since it was so far from the truth.

Julie Young, Craig Young

"It means a lot, just the investment, the buy-in from both my parents. It's just, man, now you're going to get me emotional," Bryce said before laughing. "Having a support system I do, my parents have been there for me for everything. It's not just me here. We go through every step in every journey together. … Obviously, I'm biased, but I have the best parents in the world. Being able to experience that with them is something super special, and we'll definitely hold onto (it) as a family forever.

Bryce Young, the person everyone around here is getting to know for the first time, is starting to show more of who he is.

He flashed personality during Back Together Saturday, giving himself a fist bump when a young fan accidentally denied him. He dished on his rookie talent show song of choice – "Love" by Keyshia Cole – and confirmed that he is a performer as he "tried to sing my little heart out." Some teammates have suggested he's probably more of an entertainer than a pure singer, the charisma greater than the actual vocal talent. Between meetings, he'll sit behind a piano in the student center and play a few notes, dabbling in music.

He's talked about spending the early days of college delivering food with DoorDash, a detail DJ Chark Jr. spilled a week before. He shared that he gets the Bo-Berry biscuit at Bojangles, expressing gratitude to be added to the list of Panthers legends affiliated with the fast food chain.

And for his parents, the people who raised Bryce and know him best, it's been about letting him progress at his own pace, make his own choices, and grow comfortable in his own ways. 

"At the end of the day, as a parent – really good parents – you have to follow the lead of what your young man needs at any particular time," Craig said. "And I think a parent's job is to be supportive of where they are. We're supportive of his dreams, of his desires, of whatever he wants. And I think right now, first and foremost, it's being the best player and teammate he can for the Carolina Panthers. So anything we can do to support that is what we'll do."

That's what they've done, showing up to Spartanburg, granting patience on birthday celebrations while he's getting acclimating, giving the emerging star all the room he needs to shine on his own journey.

We're all just starting to see part of who he is now.

Young family

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