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Notebook: Bryce Young doesn't think there were too many "voices"

Thomas Brown, Bryce Young

CHARLOTTE -- The difficulty in transitioning from college to the NFL can manifest itself in numerous ways. From the field, to the weight room to practice standards, the changes can result in culture shock for some. One of the oft forgotten but most impactful changes though, can simply be the amount of people involved in the day-to-day. In college, the head coach rules all, and his voice is typically the only voice that players hear, through literal or proxy methods.

In the NFL, those voices are coming from everywhere. It can create a cacophony that is deafening. Hayden Hurst is worried that happened to Bryce Young this year.

"I think there's just too many opinions and you're kind of looking for the right answer from everybody. Too much input, which sucks for Bryce," Hurst said on Monday. "I think he kind of had a lot of people in his ear telling him one thing.

"When you're a 21-year-old kid, you think that is gonna be consistent in the NFL. And unfortunately for him, I think maybe he was listening too many people. So it'll be a good off season for him, again, just to kind of get back to his roots."

Young, holding court at his own locker during clean-out day, didn't dispute the idea of there being a lot of voices, but he was quick to point out, the onslaught of input doesn't mean it was too much.

"I feel like that's always a part of, it's a part of the position," Young said. "Everyone wants to help. That's the thing, everyone's involved, everyone's invested and I don't feel like it was too much.

To Hurst's point, number one overall picks, like Young, are typically surrounded by an army of those taking on responsibility for their maturation. From head coaches to quarterback coaches, teammates and alumni, to assistants and specialists and front office evaluators whose reputation might be on said pick, everyone is in the room. As Hurst went on to say, so many people want to be in on the ground floor and say they shaped a quarterback.

Sometimes though, the only voice that matters, is the one from the quarterback himself.

"The kid won the Heisman trophy, he's pretty good. He's the first overall pick. He's pretty good," Hurst said of Young. "So that's kind of what I told him the other day. Go home to wherever you need to go to and just tear it all down, man. Go back to where you were at Alabama, that kid, that confident kid and just go back to your roots."

Whether the number of voices surrounding Young in stereo are too much or not, is really only for him to decide. After a year on the job, he's at least become more accustomed to the noise though. That's part of being a quarterback in the NFL, Young maintains, and his job is to learn how to best listen.

"I really, I appreciate it. I know where (Hayden's) coming from but, I think that's part of it," Young said. "You balance it. I'm just grateful for the buy-in everybody has."

— For quite a while — days that felt like weeks and weeks that felt like months — things were tense in the Hurst household. The Panthers tight end suffered a concussion and entered concussion protocol after a hit on November 9 versus the Chicago Bears.

Up to two weeks later, Hurst was still experiencing memory loss.

"It was kind of strange, I was forgetting things and my fiancée had to remind me of some stuff," Hurst shared on Monday. "I've had plenty of collisions and things like that. But to have memory loss and things like that two weeks after the fact, I've never had anything like that."

The sixth-year tight end was finally cleared on Sunday, January 7. It marked 61 days since Hurst had played football and been in concussion protocol (the Panthers placed him on Injured Reserve in mid-December). The almost three months were, "very scary" Hurst admitted. Even more so for those around him.

"Just the way it effected my family and stuff like that. They didn't get too concerned with how I was acting, things like that, they didn't freak me out. But they were concerned for a little while."

While the Panthers season is now over, Hurst has been taking part in some football activities, to test his ability to return. Independent neurologist put him through a series of tests that included donning his pads and helmets and taking simulated hits as if in a practice.

"In the last couple, probably like 10 days, I've kind of turned the corner."

He'll now head home to Jacksonville to train for the offseason. Despite the scary three months that just passed, there's no hesitation on his part about returning to the field this fall.

"I love football. That's what I'm meant to do, that's how I'm wired," Hurst said. "I got cleared by the trainers and everything so I'm good to go."

— In a normal year, Brian Burns future would be of the utmost priority. In a normal year, nailing down either a contract or a franchise tag for the edge rusher, set to become an unrestricted free agent, would be the first conversation the Panthers front office would likely want to have.

But this is not a normal year. For starters, there's not much of a front office to even have those conversations. The team parted ways with general manager Scott Fitterer on Monday morning. A new head coach must be hired, and with him, the possibility of a new defensive coordinator.

So as Brian Burns cleaned out his locker on Monday, along with his teammates, he had to put voice to the reality, until the staff is addressed, he is on the back burner.

"I just know they got a lot of stuff to do, a lot of stuff to figure out. I don't think I'm number one on that list right now," Burns said Monday.

Burns, drafted in the first round by Carolina in 2019, isn't worried or anxious. He's just being as patient as possible. The next couple of weeks, his only objective is to rest and catch up on a few pop-culutre moments he's missed for far too long.

"I'm relaxing, I got to take some time off," Burns shared. "Don't jump on me, but I haven't watched Game of Thrones or Power…I'm gonna tap in this offseason."

And, he'll wait for the phone to ring. The ability to be patient stems from the knowledge, at this point, he's done all he can do. He's averaged 9.2 sacks per season in his five years with the Panthers, made two Pro-Bowls, led the team in tackles for loss this year and voiced his hope—more than once—that he wants to be here.

"If they do keep my guys, my defense, together, I feel like there's so much that we didn't get to do that I want to do with those guys," Burns passionately stated Monday, echoing the message he's more or less been preaching for the past two weeks. "But it's a business. It can go any which way.

"The best thing that I can do, is be ready. So if it do turn out they want to keep me here, I'm ready. If it turns out I have to go somewhere else, I'm definitely ready for that too. As long as I'm ready at any angle, I'm fine."

View all the action from the Panthers' game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 18.

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