On how it feels to back in a Panthers uniform:"It feels great. Like I said, this organization gave me the opportunity to play at the next level, they drafted me a long time ago and to be back, it was a no brainer for me to make the decision to come back. I am back in Spartanburg, ready to get hot."
On his role as a mentor for some of the younger guys on the team:"Most definitely. On my visit, when I was talking to the coaches, they brought me back to be a mentor; to go out there and compete at a different position, play at a high level and bring the young guys on and let them know what the competition is. The key each and every day starts at practice. I practice pretty hard and I feel like if you practice well, then you play well. Just to bring me back and teach the young guys the ropes."
On his hamstring injury:"Training. I was training to get ready for training camp, had to drop a couple of pounds. It happened about two weeks ago just trying to get ready to come here. I went home to Mobile, Alabama where it gets hot so that I could get used to it. I just kind of tweaked it a little bit, so they are just trying to take it slow. I ran the conditioning test really well, so I thought I was going to be able to practice but just trying to take it slow and keep it from being an ongoing issue. Hamstrings can be tricky and I know that; so just trying to walk me in slowly and getting me ready to roll."
On whether he was running or lifting when the injury happened:"I was running, getting ready for my conditioning test. My trainer back at home told me, 'we're done for the day,' but I said 'Nah, I feel good man let's do something extra.' Thinking that I'm still young, thinking I'm still 21-22 years old. I'm not that young anymore. That's how I did it but I feel fine."
On his weight going into camp:"Yeah, I definitely made weight. Shoot, I made real weight, 11-12 pounds under. I definitely made my weight, and I was excited about that. It just happened. It's a process. I got to take care of my body I guess, and got to keep training."
On bringing guys into this team who have been around the league for a while now:"Most definitely. Look at what we did this off season, bring a guy like myself and 'Pep' (Julius Peppers) back, signing a guy like (Matt) Kalil, and keeping these pieces together. Going into the draft and getting guys like Christian McCaffrey and (Curtis) Samuel, we are trying to win now, as far as closing some athletes. At the same time, you can tell this organization that they want to win now. They are two years removed from the Super Bowl, and they want to get back and they want to win it. You can tell by some of the offseason moves we made, and you can tell at the same time that this team is a great team already. They were just missing a couple of pieces last year. It is hard to win in the NFL with two rookie corners. They went out there and competed well, and this year I am expecting big things, they have grown up now too. If you look at the things they are doing from OTAs and practice and training camp this year, they are saying it's like night and day. They are more confident in themselves, and they are going out there and competing at a very high level. Even James (Bradberry) out there with one hand, out there competing and making plays, I am expecting big things from these two rookie corners who have been around last year and are going into year two."
On his perspective of the issues with the secondary last season:"It's tough to start two rookies going into the NFL. Getting the quarterbacks like we have in the NFL with the Tom Bradys, and the Aaron Rogers, they are licking their chops when they play them. They are licking their chops like 'man, they got two rookie guys so I'm going to welcome them to the NFL.' So it's definitely tough. It is a longer season, so you never know when those guys are going to hit their rookie wall. I remember in my rookie year, around October, I was like 'man, when the season going to be over,' and so you never know. It is a long season for those guys, and like I said they did a great job last season at the same time. It's definitely tough especially playing the cornerback position where you get put on the island sometimes, playing by yourself. Your coaches have to adjust to your game, sometimes they probably third and two and don't want to play man-on-man coverage because they knew they had two rookie guys out there who are probably a little winded, so they probably had to adjust their game a little bit. Year two will definitely be better for those guys."
On the responsibility of Kurt Coleman in the locker room:"Oh yeah, there is definitely a lot, he was the leader back there, he was the old guy. He is not the old guy no more now that he's got me and Mike [Adams], but he definitely had some big shoulders to lean on last year. He was the fall back guy, everybody was like you know 'Kurt Coleman is back there so they should be okay,' but that is tough you know him being a safety, having to play a different position last year. So it was definitely tough on him, but at the same time they brought back guys like me and Mike back into the room to compete and help those young guys along."
On being part of the secondary back in 2013:"We were the no-name guys. Y'all always say 'who is that in the secondary,' but we still always finished like top-five in the NFL in defense. We had guys back then that wanted to compete and just go out there and prove a point that we were somebody. Guys like me, Mike Mitchell, Drayton Florence, Melvin White. That was a secondary that nobody knew of. I remember I was playing on Monday Night Football one night, and John Gruden was like, 'yeah their secondary is a no-name group but they go out there and they play hard.' And I remember that clip and I was like okay well before I leave tonight they are going to know my name. So, I go out there and that's just how I use that as motivation. With this group though we've got a lot of talented guys, especially the young guys. You look at James (Bradberry) like I said, this guy right here can be the real deal. He will definitely be the real deal, he is big, he is physical, and he knows how to cover, he can go get that ball. I'm excited for big things for him this year."
On having Cam back to practice and competing with him in practice:"It's exciting. During OTAs he didn't do much, but he was still doing all that talking. I was like 'man, for a guy that's not practicing you're doing a lot of talking.' That's Cam. He likes to compete, he likes to have fun. But just having him back on the field is a great presence for us. We know that he is going to bring it each and every day and he is going to compete. He is going to talk, and we know that, and it brings out the best of this team. It brings out the best of everyone on the defensive side of the ball. This is a guy who won MVP a couple of years ago, so we know he is the real deal and getting to go out there and compete against him each and everyday is a plus for us, because we know he is the real deal and we know we got to go out there and be on top of our game each and every day of practice."
On letting trash talk roll off his shoulders when he is tired in the heat and humidity:"It's all fun and games, man. It's football. At the end of the day we respect each other like men on and off the field. At the end of the day it's football and sometimes it can be heated, sometimes I might not be having a good day and he may be talking in my ear, but at the same time you've got to let that roll down and move on. If in a game something like that happens, you can't go out retaliate or you will get a penalty. I did that before and Coach Rivera will remind me from time to time. When we played the 49ers in the playoffs when Michael Crabtree kind of got in my head a little bit and I head butted him and then got a 15-yard penalty. I can't do that because I hurt the team. You have to be aware of that. So sometimes that trash talk is pretty good for the team they will let you know so you just got to go out there and show them up with your play."
On his reaction to the clip of Cam Newton and Josh Norman two years ago at training camp:"Wow. I was like "What's going on there?" But everyone that knows Josh and Cam know that they are both competitive guys. Josh is one of the best corners in this game, and when he makes a play he is going to let you know. He has been like that since his rookie year. I was here when he was here as a young guy. He's been like this since he was a young guy. He is just a guy that likes to compete at a high level. Our quarterback, Cam, is the same way. He don't like losing at tying a shoe. If you're like 'I can tie my shoe faster' he'll say 'okay, let's go.' He's that type of guy. So when I saw that those two guys got into it, I was like wow. I can see why it happened because both of them are competitive guys."
On burying the hatchet with Devin Funchess:"I talked to him and we're actually pretty cool. Like I said, being a competitor, like I played last year, I'm probably still upset a little bit because I do feel like he can be a great receiver in this league; he is big, he is fast, he is physical. At the time I was just talking, being a competitive guy. I was so happy that we won the game that I was being competitive. I talked a little noise to my old team."
On embracing his leadership role:"Most definitely, my name is Captain. I embrace it, I remember when I used to be a young guy, I had guys like Chris Gamble, Richard Marshall, Chris Harris to bring me along. So now I'm that guy that everybody is looking to, especially being the secondary, being a defensive back, being a cornerback. You've got guys like Daryl Worley and James Bradberry and Zach Sanchez who are asking me like 'Cap man how you play like this, how you play like that.' So I embrace that role. I just know that I got to stay on top of my game and that's the thing that helps me stay at the top. I've got to stay at the top of my game and keep competing."