Norwood hits ground running

CHARLOTTE – Call it intuition, call it an educated guess, call it happenstance. Former Seahawks wide receiver Kevin Norwood just had a feeling he was going to become a Carolina Panther.

"This was a dream, pretty much," Norwood said after his first Panthers practice. "I envisioned this. I kind of knew this was going to happen."

The Panthers thought highly of Norwood during the evaluation process prior to the 2014 NFL Draft. Wide receivers coach Ricky Proehl worked him out at the University of Alabama and came away impressed.

"We liked him coming out," head coach Ron Rivera said. "Ricky had a good grade on him, our scouts had a good grade on him. (General manager) Dave (Gettleman) and I, we felt pretty good about him."

So when Norwood became available, Carolina made the call to Seattle and sent a 2017 undisclosed draft choice in exchange for the second-year wideout who posted nine catches for 102 yards as a rookie.

"It was a good move for us," Gettleman said. "We really liked him coming out of college. You guys have seen that some guys fit some places and don't fit other places.

"The kid has exceptional hands. He's a big, strong wide receiver. He's a very smart kid, and he'll be able to learn all three (wide receiver positions)."

The Panthers believe Norwood will be able to acclimate quickly thanks to his time in Alabama's pro-style offense, which features similar pass concepts.

"It's going to be a process, but I am going to get it," Norwood said of learning the new offense. "It's a little different for me. I'll get in there and study and I'll be good."

There isn't any time to waste with the final preseason game looming.

After a "very long and exhausting" 24 hours, Norwood partook in team drills on Tuesday, and he's expected to play against the Pittsburgh Steelers Thursday. He hopes to quickly prove he can provide the pass-catching help Carolina is looking for.

"I'm just happy to be here," Norwood said. "It's crazy but it all worked out in the end."

View photos of newly acquired wide receiver Kevin Norwood.

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