CHARLOTTE – The last calendar year had its tricky moments for Kawann Short and the Panthers when it came to the business side of the game, but business was good for Short between the white lines.
This offseason, it's been back to business as usual after Short signed a five-year contract on the first day of the team's nine-week offseason workout program.
And for Short, who has played in every game in his four-year NFL career, that means it's been about the business of getting better without the possible distraction of contract talk in the mix.
"It's good. I don't have to worry about what's next," Short said on the next-to-last day of offseason workouts. "I've still got to work like I've still got to earn one. That's in the past now. I'm working like it's another rookie year for me."
In reality, of course, Short is now a seasoned veteran and a productive one at that. His 17 sacks over the past two seasons rank third in the NFL among defensive tackles, and the second-round pick out of Purdue has been a menace since Day One with 88 quarterback pressures over his first four seasons.
The numbers both in terms of his personal stats and his paycheck are nice, but that's not what motivates Short the most.
"The ultimate goal is a ring," he said. "We've got to come out here with a sense of purpose. We know the goal and we know our role. Everybody is coming out here ready to work."
Short did allow himself a moment after signing his contract to enjoy the fruits of his labor, but in the modest way we've come to expect.
"I took my mom on a vacation. Nothing big, but we had fun," Short said. "A couple of days in Florida. Key West. Just some low-key chilling.
"It was family time with me, my mom, my daughter (3-year old Kamiyah) and my mom's best friend."
Short didn't chill for long, hitting the ground running upon his return to Charlotte for the offseason program. It's almost over now, but Short plans to sweat some more during the players' break coming up that will lead into training camp and, before you know it, the 2017 season.
"It's been a good spring all the way around," Short said. "Everybody is out here with a sense of focus, working on their craft and what they need to get better at.
"You always have individual goals you set for yourself, and for me that's to be one of the dominant defensive tackles in the league. That's what I've got to work for. It's the same mentality as always: do what I've been doing as far as going at the offensive line and making each other better."
View photos from the third week of Carolina's organized team activities.