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Cash begins NFL journey at linebacker


CHARLOTTE – Jeremy Cash took his first steps as a Panthers linebacker at rookie minicamp Friday. He did so wearing No. 57 – a true linebacker number and one that fits in quite well given his new surroundings.

"58 and 59 are pretty good numbers," Cash said with a smile. "So 57, I'm on the right track."

Following the leadership of captains Thomas Davis and Luke Kuechly will definitely give Cash an advantage.

"It's an excellent situation for him," linebackers coach Al Holcomb said. "I feel like we have the best linebacker room in the National Football League. The leadership and presence and what they've been able to accomplish speaks for itself. That room will be fantastic for a guy like Jeremy."

In the meantime, the college safety turned pro linebacker is learning how to be a Panther just like the other participants at Carolina's rookie minicamp.

Once he adds the necessary weight, Holcomb thinks Cash has the tools needed to develop into a contributor for Carolina.

"The thing I like about him is that he seems to have a pretty good football IQ. He understands concepts," Holcomb said. "What he showed in college was that he's a physical player, that he's not afraid to stick his nose in there and get dirty.

"He also has some strength to him. Even though he's a little bit undersized, he plays with square shoulders. He's got to work on his hand placement a little bit, but he's got a pretty good feel for playing with his hands. Athletically underneath, I think he's going to have some ability to cover in space."

Cash thought those aforementioned traits would earn him a phone call during the 2016 NFL Draft. Instead, he signed with the Panthers as an undrafted free agent.

But the draft day disappointment hasn't impacted Cash's approach to the game.

"It's not really a matter of proving people wrong," Cash said. "It's just understanding that I can play ball and whatever happened, happened for a reason. I ended up here, and I'm very thankful for that opportunity."

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