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While adjusting to the NFL, these two rookies speak the same language

240510 Rookie Mini Camp-34

CHARLOTTE— Coming into the NFL can feel like entering an entirely new country. The people are new, the buildings are different, and while you may have enough basis to understand the terminology, it's not your first language. There's no Rosetta Stone for the league, so having a translator can be a lifesaver.

For two Panthers rookies, Trevin Wallace and Michael Barrett, they're acting as each other translators.

"We're both from South Georgia and so we kind of speak each other's language a lot," Barrett said. "Having somebody there that's where you're from and kind of going through the same thing as you, it makes it way easier, just knowing you're not alone, having him there, quizzing each other."

The linebackers didn't play with or against each other in high school, living around two hours from the other. But after going to Kentucky (Wallace) and Michigan (Barrett), realizing how big the world can be, getting thrown together at rookie minicamp was akin to finding someone from home.

"As soon as we got here, obviously, we had to get to know each other and talk," Wallace said. "But when we got here, it was like helping each other out like, hey, guess what this is because, the terminology is different."

The South Georgia duo will sit opposite each other, tossing terminology and plays back and forth, not moving till the other has it down pat.

"Honestly, after every meeting we'll go in and just quiz each other," Barrett shared. "'What did you say about this and this and that?' And that definitely just helped us learn fast, being able to communicate better, get more comfortable with the defense and things like that."

View photos of Michigan linebacker, Michael Barrett, drafted by Carolina in the seventh round of the 2024 draft.

But the one place the translating is most helpful—and needed—is on the field. When coaches have rookies run certain sets to be prepared, Wallace is often giving the green dot (the helmet with the communication system). When the day is hot, and long though and Wallace finds himself out of breath, that South Georgia accent gets deeper.

"I'll be his translator whenever we're in the huddle," Barrett laughed. "He'll get talking fast. I mean, that's just how people talk so they'll be like, what did he say? And I had to be like, 'all right, he said this.'"

The first time Wallace was given one play in particular to pass along—"Don boys en Fuego, ready, break"—his Georgia accent made it something else entirely.

"They were like, 'bro, your accent is strong. You got a country accent,'" Wallace recalled. "They were like, you need to hang with some West Coast people, because what you said, it was the right call. But it's South Georgia. When we talk, it's all run-on."

Luckily for Wallace, and the rest of the defense, he had his translator on hand.

"I've been up in Michigan for the last couple years. I can (speak) both a little bit," Barrett explained. "I had to walk him through it, like, just calm down. But, yeah, I'll be his translator a lot."

The Panthers will return in the next couple of weeks for training camp, with the preseason not far behind. As the entire rookie class becomes more and more comfortable in their playbooks and the league, at least for Trevin Wallace and Michael Barrett, they'll have someone nearby who speaks the same language.

View photos of Kentucky linebacker Trevin Wallace, drafted by Carolina in the third round of the 2024 draft.

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