SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Not surprisingly, Luke Kuechly takes a no-nonsense approach to packing for training camp.
"The essentials – got my rugs, got my alarm clock, got a little player to play some music in the room," Kuechly said. "Toothbrush and toothpaste, and you're ready to go."
And, of course, Kuechly always packs a punch, one that has allowed him to amass 44 more tackles than anyone else in the NFL over his first three seasons. Each year, training camp sets the tone for Carolina's tackling machine.
"I'm excited. This is (training camp) number four for me, so I've got the system down," Kuechly said. "I knew what to pack. I know what to expect. It should be a fun camp."
One thing Kuechly didn't pack was any excess baggage that could get in the way of what Carolina hopes to accomplish at camp. Chatter about Kuechly's contract has intensified since quarterback Cam Newton signed a contract extension on June 2.
The Panthers exercised their fifth year option on Newton's rookie contract last offseason and did the same with Kuechly, their first-round draft choice in 2012, this offseason. Kuechly is under contract through the 2016 season.
"It's one of those things that is going to happen when it happens," Kuechly said. "Right now, I know I've got a room, and hopefully I've got a locker down there. That's all I really need."
Always the team player, Kuechly isn't concerning himself with numbers on a contract or a stat sheet. Number of wins this season? That's a different story.
"The goal is to win your division and take some strides in the playoffs," Kuechly said. "We took a couple of steps in that direction last year, but that's what the new year is for – another opportunity and a clean slate to make a push and make something happen."