CHARLOTTE – Rookie linebacker Shaq Thompson, the first-round pick who starred at the University of Washington, is returning to his old stomping grounds this weekend.
"It's just a homecoming game for me," Thompson said. "At the end of the day, it's just a business trip for me and for the Carolina Panthers. We're going down there to play our brand of football.
"Hopefully, we'll come away with a 'W' so everybody can feel good on the plane ride back home."
Thompson, who is from Sacramento, Calif., put aside two tickets for Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks.
"I just have my mom and brother coming to the game," Thompson said.
Thompson isn't very outspoken, but he's quietly had a very solid start to his NFL career. He's started all four games and has posted 16 tackles and one sack.
His snap count has increased each week. In the season opener at Jacksonville, played 25 percent of the defensive snaps. In Week 4 at Tampa Bay, he played 61 percent of the defensive snaps.
Thompson said he didn't spent too much time reviewing his first four games during the bye week, but he knows he can be even more productive as he develops more pre-snap awareness.
"I can do a little bit better," Thompson said. "It happens with getting more in the film (room) – recognizing formations, recognizing plays."
Linebacker A.J. Klein was a limited participant during Wednesday's practice after suffering a concussion in the Week 4 victory over the Buccaneers. Head coach Ron Rivera said Klein is in the protocol but has been cleared for non-contact activity.
Despite Klein's uncertain status, Rivera said the Panthers still plan to limit Luke Kuechly's workload in his first game back from a concussion.
"Injuries do change things. This may change our approach – hopefully not," Rivera said. "We can do some of the things we did with TD and Shaq in there."
Defensive end Jared Allen missed his second consecutive practice with a pinched nerve. His status for Sunday's game remains up in the air.
View photos from the Panthers' week of practice leading up to their game versus the Seahawks.