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Panthers defense loving Frankie Luvu's energy

Frankie Luvu

CHARLOTTE — Haason Reddick is kind of soft-spoken anyway, and doesn't seem to get riled up about many things, especially in the preseason.

But if you want to see the Panthers outside linebacker's eyes light up, ask him about Frankie Luvu, the man they call Uce.

(For starters, it's short for Uso, which is Samoan for brother. It's pronounced like OOH-so, so Uce is a distinctive sound.)

"Man, I love Uce," Reddick said, beaming. "I love Frankie. High-intensity guy. Motor doesn't stop. In practice, he's been making big plays, and it's carrying over to the field. Second week in a row, you know he's on the field, making plays.

"Terrific, terrific ballplayer. I love him."

Luvu had a forced fumble, a pass breakup and a quarterback hit Saturday night against the Ravens, the second straight week in the preseason he's made an impact as a reserve. He had a sack last week against the Colts, and has proven through camp to be a player who could have a bigger role than initially envisioned.

The Jets discarded him this offseason, not tendering him as a restricted free agent. When the Panthers signed him, the hope was that he could add some energy as a sub, but mostly play special teams.

He's shown so far that might have undersold it.

"I just try to show them I'm a guy they can trust on the field, to do my job," Luvu said quietly (he's even more soft-spoken than Reddick). "And just try to make plays. Hopefully, the defense, the offense and the whole team can feed off of that.

"Nothing but energy, and I'm a guy who just does his job."

He learned that from one of the best.

His position coach in New York as an undrafted rookie from Washington State was Hall of Famer Kevin Greene, who took Luvu under his wing. Greene was a fifth-round pick, but he saw something familiar in Luvu.

And since Greene was a guy who turned his unlimited passion for the game into 160 sacks and a spot in Canton, having that kind of mentor mattered for Luvu.

It's one thing for the Panthers and defensive coordinator Phil Snow to talk about always being around the ball. Having Greene show him what it looked like made an impression.

"Coach Snow always says, be around the ball," Luvu said. "They turn on the tape and you're around the ball, and that's a mindset of when I started playing under Kevin Greene, when he used to coach me. I kind of took that mindset and brought it over here and just carried on with it.

"It was a blessing having him coach me and having him pass his game onto me as an undrafted kid. He trusted me to come in, and trust his techniques and fundamentals, and everything has fallen into place."

Frankie Luvu

When asked about his potential, Luvu simply said he'll do whatever is asked.

"Just try to help the team in any way I can," he said. "Special teams, defense, it don't matter, just be on the field and help the guys and bring that energy every play."

And when his teammates see his energy, they feed off it.

"He plays hard, man," Reddick said. "He plays the game the way it's meant to be played, right. A high-motor, no quit in his game. I don't think I've ever seen him take a rep not full speed.

"He has high energy. That's a big prop to him, because a lot of guys can't keep up with that type of pace he plays with."

View game action photos from Carolina's preseason game against Baltimore at Bank of America Stadium.

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