SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Luke Kuechly's offseason kept him plenty busy. First off, he claimed the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award at the NFL Honors show. Then came a series of endorsement opportunities, including shooting a trailer for the new Madden NFL 15 video game.
After just two seasons, Kuechly has become an NFL superstar.
But if you think any of that means anything to him, think again.
"I think it's been about the same," Kuechly said when asked how his life has changed. "There's been a couple other things I had to do this offseason. But its football time. I have to keep doing my responsibility, keeping running around and making plays."
It's obvious Kuechly is a little uncomfortable discussing his celebrity status. When he gets a question about football and his job on the field, there's almost a sense of relief in his voice.
Still, it's undeniable that he and quarterback Cam Newton are regarded as the faces of an NFL franchise.
How does Kuechly handle that?
"As long as you do your job and you're accountable and you're in the right spot, it's easy to do," Kuechly said. "If I can just keep being myself and keep taking direction, I'm going to be just fine. I don't think there's necessarily a 'face' thing. If I just keep doing my job that's all I'm really concerned about.
"For me, I just go out there, play football and see what happens," he added. "If there's attention on the Panthers I guess that's a good thing."
Training camp has given Kuechly a chance to snap back in to the job he loves – lining up in the middle of the Panthers defense. It's a defense he "absolutely" thinks can be better after finishing second in the league last year.
But Carolina's star linebacker, who has compiled 381 tackles in two seasons, knows he can't do it alone. And that's what makes it fun.
"One thing I like about football is it's a team game," Kuechly said. "Nobody can do it by themselves."