SPARTANBURG – It's all so familiar to Tre Boston.
The black and blue Panthers shirt he grabbed from the locker room before walking out to observe practice. The Wofford College practice fields on a hot summer day.
Boston is back where his NFL career began, where he spent three seasons. He's a Panther again.
"It hasn't all sunk in yet," Boston said moments after signing a one-year contract.
This always seemed like a real possibility with the Panthers having an open competition at free safety. Fans were constantly hitting up Boston on social media, encouraging him to find his way back to Carolina.
"The fans did a great job," Boston said with a smile. "They embraced me and now are welcoming me back. The players wanting me back means a lot. It's an amazing feeling."
Boston was productive in one-year stints with the Chargers and Cardinals after leaving Carolina. His eight interceptions over the last two years are third-most among NFL safeties. He was hoping to land a long-term deal. When that opportunity didn't present itself, he found the right fit on yet another one-year deal.
"Once you sign you just have to put it to the side," Boston said of long-term contract hopes. "For me, it's all about honing in and having fun again. Kind of have to let that go.
"Coming back here was easy for me. I wanted to find a good contract. I fit in this system. It's all about being on the right page with what I'm worth and what these guys are asking of me."
The Panthers believe Boston can prove to be the perfect addition on a defense that is loaded with talent. The front seven looks to be a unit that will harass quarterbacks, and if that's the case, Boston is the kind of ball-hawking safety you want in your secondary.
"That's what they told me I was," Boston said of being a missing piece. "I believe I'm one of the best in the league. Stats show it. I looked at the depth chart and said we can be something special. It's about getting my job done and being accountable. I have to play my ball and have fun doing it."
View some of the best images of safety Tre Boston from his first stint in Carolina from 2014-16.