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Carolina Panthers

Kuechly hardest on himself

CHARLOTTE – Linebacker Luke Kuechly recently earned his degree in marketing from Boston College, but fittingly he hasn't yet laid his eyes on his diploma as his focus remains on football.

Even though Kuechly has already won NFL Defensive Player of the Year and been to two Pro Bowls in his first three seasons, his football education continues.

"I've got to work on pass coverage. That's something I've been trying to get better at since I've been here – that and blitzing," Kuechly said. "If you're called to blitz, you've got to get there. If you don't, you're just a wasted player at that point.

"I talked with (defensive coordinator Sean) McDermott a little bit today about some pass coverage stuff. (Linebackers coach) Al (Holcomb) does a great job with that, and we've got a bunch of good guys on the offense that I get to work against – Greg (Olsen) and Jerricho (Cotchery), guys like that who are experienced route runners."

Kuechly finished his degree online about a month ago. He attended offseason workouts rather than graduation ceremonies in mid-May.

"The degree's at home (in Cincinnati). It came in the mail," Kuechly said. "My mom's happy."

Kuechly is a happy camper as well, fine-tuning his game while teaming with familiar faces to work toward advanced degrees in defense.

"Our team this year versus last year, a lot of guys were new last year but now those guys are back," Kuechly said. "It's all familiar. Just a word or phrase, and we're on the same page. That's awesome."

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