CHARLOTTE – Those who attended the Carolina Panthers Kickoff Luncheon at the Westin Hotel got to hear from three of the team's most impactful players with the 2014 season opener just days away.
After watching highlights from last season and distributing some autographed memorabilia, linebackers Thomas Davis and Luke Kuechly and center Ryan Kalil took the stage to field questions from hosts Mick Mixon and Jordan Gross.
They made it very clear that complacency won't be an issue after the franchise's first division title and playoff berth since 2008.
"We have a lot of guys that are hungry and we are going to build off last season," Davis said. "Last year, we did something that hadn't been done since 2008. But we still understand that we left a lot out there. A lot of us are using that as motivation."
Added Kalil: "Especially when you come off a season when you had some success, you want a team where guys don't get complacent. These guys come to work every day, and they come to work like it's the first time they've stepped in the building. There's no complacency whatsoever. That's going to be really helpful for us this season."
The players then thanked the fans for their outstanding and impactful support during the 2013 season.
"The buzz and the excitement and the positive energy we got from you guys was just incredible," Kalil said. "Players say it all the time but it is so true – we feed off of that so much. The whole city just changes when we are winning."
Kuechly pointed out victories over the Saints at Bank of America Stadium and the Falcons at the Georgia Dome as games where Panthers fans made a huge difference in the outcome.
"I think our fans were louder than their fans," Kuechly said, recalling the win in Atlanta. "You guys would never believe how much that helps us. Just to hear that the fans are pulling for us, or even when we lose a game to hear people say they are still with us – that goes a long way. You guys help us pick it up, and the support is awesome."
Kuechly, Davis and Kalil speak for the entire team when they say they'll need that kind of support again in 2014.
"We're going to keep fighting and we're going to do everything we can," Kalil said. "Keep that energy that you brought last year."