CHARLOTTE – Inadvertently, Kevon Seymour was the person who told fellow cornerback Daryl Worley that he had been traded away by the Panthers.
"When I heard it had happened, I called him up," Seymour said. "He didn't even know."
After telling his close friend about the trade, Seymour then paused to think about the message the move sent to him.
"You can be here one day and gone the next," Seymour said. "It's tough to see a brother go, but it's a part of the business."
The business of football continued in the weeks after the trade leading up to the start of organized team activities this week. The Panthers nearly signed free agent corner Bashaud Breeland – the acquisition derailed by a medical concern – and soon after they did sign corner Ross Cockrell. Come the draft, Carolina selected corner Donte Jackson in the second round.
But so far at OTAs, it is Seymour and James Bradberry owning the first-team reps on the outside.
"I'm not really focused on where I stand and paying too much attention to that," Seymour said. "It's just about being consistent and showing that I can do it – just making them believe in me.
"Last year it was a quick transition; this year I've got the whole spring and fall camp to show them that I can be that corner to step up."
When 53-man rosters around the league were finalized on the last Saturday in September, Seymour began preparing for his second season with the Bills. But within a couple of hours, Seymour was traded to the Panthers for wide receiver Kaelin Clay and a 2019 seventh-round draft choice.
Eight days later, Seymour was active for the Panthers' opener at the 49ers, though he played just one snap on defense. Bradberry and Worley were the clear starting corners, but Seymour stood at the ready.
"I caught onto everything pretty fast," he said. "In Buffalo, the system was kind of the same, so that gave me an edge, a little bit of a head start. I came over and just did whatever they wanted me to do. One week they'd say, 'Kee, we need you on the inside.' The next week I'd be outside or playing both. I did whatever they needed."
In Week 4 at the Patriots, they needed Seymour to start with Worley sidelined by a strained pectoral. In Week 6 against the Eagles, Worley was healthy but the Panthers gave Seymour more snaps as a part of a rotation opposite Bradberry. Seymour played at least 30 percent of the snaps in five of the final nine games – and at least 50 percent in three of them.
Seymour was expected to play a valuable role in the NFC Wild Card at the Saints – his second start of the season had come at New Orleans, when he split snaps evenly with Worley – but instead he missed his only game of the season.
"It was one of the worst feelings I've had," said Seymour, who developed flu-like symptoms a couple of days before the game but seemed to be better after traveling with the team. "They gave me fluids, had me rest up because they said, 'We need you to go tomorrow.' Then the next thing you know, the morning of the game I woke up with a fever.
"I ended up having to watch from the hotel. It hurt bad. It was just terrible."
Carolina's season ended with a 31-26 loss, a game that did nothing to quell concerns about the future of the secondary as Drew Brees racked up 376 yards through the air. This offseason, the Panthers gave Seymour a vote of confidence by trading Worley before picking Jackson in the second round and safety Rashaan Gaulden in the third round of the draft.
"They're great additions to the family," Seymour said. "D-Jax is super-fast, super-quick. I went 4.3 (4.39 at the 2016 combine), but I didn't have his 4.3. His 4.3 (a combine-best 4.32) was close to a 4.2."
Seymour is also excited about the addition of Gaulden, calling him "very athletic, real vocal." The rookies learning the ropes behind Seymour so far at OTAs as the Panthers try to bounce back from a trying year in terms of pass defense.
Seymour sees a solution on the horizon, and he sees himself as a pivotal part of it.
"As a group, we just want to play fast, get back to 'Thieves Ave.' When the ball is in the air, it's a free ball – play it like it was thrown to us," Seymour said. "We've got some great DBs, a very athletic group, and we don't really listen to the chatter.
"I'm just going out there every day and giving my all so I can be the best me for the team so that I can help this team to be great."
View photos from the first week of organized team activities.