CHARLOTTE – When Gerald McCoy was being courted this offseason, the former Buccaneer made it clear he wanted to play for a contender as he searched for a new home. He's never been to the playoffs.
On Monday, he stood in the near-empty locker room of a 5-8 team.
This isn't how the Pro Bowl defensive lineman envisioned Carolina's 2019 season unfolding.
"I know the fans are disappointed but I'm gonna tell you something. PSA: No fan is more disappointed than the people playing the game," McCoy said. "Any negativity coming our way, anything like that, I guarantee you don't feel as bad as we feel. It's us, it's our names on that tape, it's our names being talked about."
That said, McCoy, a team captain, understands the fans' frustration after the Panthers dropped their fifth in a row in Atlanta.
"I can speak for the whole locker room, we apologize for the performance we've been having," McCoy said. "We're on a skid. How do you right your wrongs? Beat Seattle. It can be done."
Now McCoy and the Panthers are left to play spoiler and play for pride – something he's been through too many times before.
"You guys are going to write what you are going to write – we can't control that. The fans are going to say what they're going to say – we can't control that. What we can control is how we keep fighting," McCoy said. "You can give up, tuck your tail and say, 'Hey, we're getting ready for next season.' Or you can have some pride as a man and just give it everything you got and see what happens.
"It's not always going to be great results. But you show up to work, go home – I know what I'm about to do. I'm going to leave here right now and I'm going to home and start watching Seattle. That's all you can do man. We just move and get ready for the next three."
View the best behind-the-scenes photos from Carolina's Week 14 game in Atlanta.