GREENSBORO, N.C. – The Panthers weren't quite sure what to expect at the Greensboro Road Show on Friday, June 13.
But when the bus rolled up to Center City Park, linebacker Luke Kuechly, running back Jonathan Stewart, fullback Mike Tolbert and support staff alike were blown away by the number of fans they saw.
"I didn't really have any idea what was going to go on," Tolbert said. "When we got here and I saw all the fans and the love we were getting, that made it all worthwhile."
Roughly 7,000 people attended. They enjoyed music, food, games and appearances by the TopCats, PurrCussion and the Black and Blue Crew. Those lucky enough to get in line early got autographs from the three star players.
"It's great – the fans here (in Greensboro) are absolutely phenomenal," Kuechly said. "This is what makes playing football here so fun – it's not just Charlotte.
"We are very fortunate to have great fans all over the Carolinas."
Later in the evening, the players greeted the raucous crowd from the stage.
"It's fun, because we get to interact with the people that make us who we are," Tolbert said. "To give back to this community is a good feeling."
The excitement made it feel like football season was just days away. If only.
"In the offseason, you get a chance to relax and hang out, but then you start missing football after about a month or two," Kuechly said. "You get the itch to start playing again."
The atmosphere in Greensboro certainly helped satisfy that football craving.
"I love it. You look around, we have ultimate support all over the place," Tolbert said. "We're having a great time."