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The team announced today that former cornerback Chris Gamble will announce the team’s second round pick in Thursday’s draft. It’s a nice nod and honor for one of the team’s all time great defensive backs. Gamble was Cheap Carolina Panthers Jerseys drafted in 2004 and spent his entire career with the team, and holds the franchise records for interceptions and pass deflections. He unfortunately Cheap Chris Gamble Jersey became a cap casualty during Gettleman’s Cheap Devin Funchess Jersey first year with the team, and rather than signing with another team Gamble opted to retire a Panthers and end Cheap Josh Norman Jersey his career. Many Panthers fans will remember him fondly for his upper level play with a quiet demeanor on and off the field. Looking back Cheap Thomas Davis Jersey it’s a stark contrast to the recent Josh Norman drama media headlines.

Speaking of Josh, it’s possible that Chris Gamble ends up announcing Norman’s replacement, similar to Thomas Davis announcing the team’s selection of Shaq Thompson. Last season, the Panthers moved up to nab a guy they valued Cheap Shaq Thompson Jersey in the second round (Devin Funchess), and with a roster fresh off a super bowl run, finding a guy in the second the team likes as an immediate contributor would make a whole lot of sense.

Anyway, it’ll be awesome to see Chris once again. Here’s to hoping the pick is a good one.

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To a man, the members of the 2003 Carolina Panthers were convinced they were going to win Super Bowl XXXVIII, until the final second.

So it’s not a surprise that in the moment, they didn’t realize what the man who prevented it was in the process of becoming.

Time passes. Entire careers come and go. Tom Brady remains.

When the now-Buccaneers quarterback takes the field Sunday in Super Bowl LV against the Chiefs, it will have been XVII years since Carolina Panthers Jerseys China he beat the Panthers with a last-minute drive that set up Adam Vinatieri’s game-winning field goal.

It was a clinical drive — efficient and timely more than daring and memorable for any particular play. But that’s how you become Cheap Brentson Buckner Jersey a legend, by stacking up so many moments that the sheer weight of your accomplishments renders arguments moot.

Tom Brady
Rusty Kennedy/AP
That game against the Panthers was Brady’s second Super Bowl appearance and win. He’s gone on to win four more, and Sunday will be his 10th time playing in the final game of the season.

“My gosh, think about it,” former Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme said this week, recalling a stat he heard that floored him. “He’s played Cheap Jake Delhomme Jersey in 18 percent of all the Super Bowls ever played. That’s absurd.”

“I played 10 years in the league,” former Panthers defensive tackle Brentson Buckner said with a laugh. “He’s played in that many Super Bowls.”

There’s a tone of amazement in their voices when they talk about Brady, because 43-year-olds aren’t supposed to be able to play at the level he continues to.

With Brady, however, there’s less evidence of physical decline, and that’s what amazes those who have been on the other side of it.

“Athletes can lose explosiveness over the years,” former Panthers receiver Steve Smith Sr. said. “But when everything the shoulder and below slows down, everything shoulder and above has to keep firing like a rookie.

“And he’s obviously been able to do that.”

THE ART OF LONGEVITY

There’s a lot about Brady that impresses other players.

But being able to play at such a high level for so long stuns the guys who played a long time themselves.

Smith played 16 years in the NFL. In a league where the average career is around four seasons, that’s remarkable, bordering on unheard of.

He was drafted a year after Brady. He’s 41, two years younger than the Bucs’ quarterback. Smith’s eligible for the Hall of Fame Cheap Steve Smith Sr. Jersey next year. Brady’s playing in the Super Bowl on Sunday.

“You have to be dedicated, and be a student, not just of the game, but of your own body,” Smith said. “It takes a lot of commitment to be able to keep yourself in the kind of shape to play for that long.

“I’m not saying it’s a miracle because he’s doing it, but it requires a conscious effort. You can’t have a cheat day if you want your body to work like that.”

Brady’s strict dietary demands have become a bit of a punchline over the years, as a culture built on burgers and beers finds it easy to point and laugh at the fancy man from California eating avocado ice cream, and staying away from nightshades because he’s concerned about inflammation.

On the other hand, Tom Brady’s still playing football at a high level at the age of 43.

Smith recalled the physical grind of his final three years in the league, when he was shuttling between his Charlotte home and Baltimore for practices and games.

“My body was never rested, so my body was never able to heal,” he said.

And the necessity of being on so many planes made him realize that he also had to be intentional about his nutrition, and how his body changed over the years.

Steve Smith
Ross D. Franklin/AP
“I found out in a hurry I couldn’t eat airport food,” Smith said with a laugh. “When I came into the league, I was 172 pounds after Thanksgiving and a protein shake. Now I’m 197 at almost 42.

“When you’re young, you don’t know what you don’t know. Realizing how your body responds and what it needs is something a lot of guys never figure out.”

Smith figured it out later in his career, adjusting his diet in his 30s so he could continue to go. But by the end of his career, he was so particular about food that he packed lunches before going to the Ravens’ facility. So other people can make fun of the TB12 Method, but Smith’s not going to.

Not when there’s so much evidence that it works.

STILL SLINGING IT

Now 46 and retired to Louisiana with his family and horses, Delhomme tries to get out and throw when he can.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic limited responsible gathering, he was a regular at local workouts with LSU committed quarterback Walker Howard, the son of former LSU quarterback Jamie Howard.

Delhomme tries to keep himself in shape, and was careful to point out that his arm wasn’t the problem. After Tommy John surgery in 2007, he’s proud to report it’s stronger than ever.

Jake Delhomme
Ross D. Franklin/AP
All the other stuff, on the other hand.

“The arm’s the best thing on my body,” Delhomme said. “But now when I go throw for a few days in a row, you start to feel it everywhere else. It’s your groin, it’s your hip, it’s your back, . . .

“And I’m not talking about practicing every day, either. This is just throwing with the young kids, putting them through reps.”

That makes what Brady’s doing now so impressive.

The Buccaneers don’t run a conservative offense, and there were plenty of people who wondered if an aging quarterback was ready for Bruce Arians’ no-risk-it-no-biscuit style.

Tom Brady
Mark LoMoglio/AP
But Brady threw for 4,633 yards in the regular season, his most since 2012. He averaged 7.6 yards per attempt, showing he can still move it downfield when need be.

While other old quarterbacks have fallen off sharply, there’s no evidence of physical decline. If anything, he’s gotten better with age.

In 2003, when Brady led the Patriots to a 14-2 record, he was a different quarterback. He threw for 3,620 yards, 23 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Good numbers, but not great, and hardly the kind of thing that left the Panthers in awe when they landed in Houston.

COULDN’T HAVE SEEN IT COMING

That’s the other thing that causes former Panthers players to shake their heads when they think about Brady then.

In February of 2004, he was merely a very good quarterback, a cog in Bill Belichick’s machine. He was not yet TOM BRADY, CONQUEROR OF WORLDS.

“Back then, it was easy to say it was all Belichick,” Buckner, now the defensive line coach in Arizona, said. “It’s all about the system, and at the time, Tom looked like another one of the guys Bill would plug and play. Little did we know, . . .

“In 2003, we might have thought we lost to Bill Belichick, and it was because he was scheming out the ying-yang. Now you realize Tom was a much bigger part of all their success than you ever thought at the time.”

Of course, there’s also the matter that the Panthers were convinced they were going to be the ones creating something bigger.

That belief was justified at the time.

They won nine games in the regular season by a touchdown or less, with Delhomme taking over at halftime of the opener and leading a comeback over the Jaguars, setting the stage for the entire season.

That magic continued in the playoffs, with Delhomme’s pass to Smith on the first play of double overtime sending them to a win at heavily favored St. Louis, followed by an unexpected handling of Andy Reid’s Eagles, who would go to the Super Bowl the following year (to lose to Brady and the Patriots, naturally).

Oddly enough, during interviews this week, both Buckner and Delhomme mentioned reserve defensive tackle Shane Burton, who blocked an Adam Vinatieri field goal in the second quarter.

“I was getting my mind ready for overtime,” Delhomme said of Brady’s final drive. “I was fully expecting Shane Burton to block the last field goal, and then we were going to win in OT.”

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That’s right, starting Tuesday, teams can apply the franchise tag to players. We don’t have the official numbers yet, because those are Wholesale Carolina Panthers Jerseys based on where the cap lands. But here are projections for a $180 million cap, a $183 million cap (that’s been the working number for some teams) and a $185 million cap.

Position by position for 180/183/185, all figures in millions:

QB: $24.76/$25.17/$25.45
WR: $15.76/$16.03/$16.02
RB: $8.54/$8.68/$8.78
TE: $9.47/$9.63/$9.73
OL: $13.57/$13.79/$13.94
DE: $15.85/$16.113/$16.29
DT: $13.70/$13.93/$14.08
LB: $14.59/$14.83/$14.99
CB: $14.85/$15.10/$15.27
S: $10.47/$10.64/$10.76

Because the cap will be lower, and even with inflation factored in, all those numbers are down (and some significantly so) Cheap Cam Newton Jersey from 2020. Which puts first-time tag candidates in different situations from those who might be tagged for a second time (like Cowboys QB Dak Prescott, Broncos S Justin Simmons, and Washington G Brandon Scherff), since those guys, by rule, would be tagged at Cheap Chris Weinke Jersey 120% of their 2020 tag number.

• Of the second-timers, Prescott is most likely to get a repeat tag. Both Denver and Washington want to keep their 2020 tagged players long-term, and Cheap DeAngelo Williams Jersey are confident they can do it, the question is whether another tag is the mechanism they’ll use to get it done (I presume it would be if such deals aren’t done by the March 9 deadline). Prescott’s 2021 tag figure is $37.691 million, Scherff’s is $15.981 million and Simmons’s is $13.792 million. Of the first-timer candidates, I think Bucs WR Chris Godwin and Panthers OT Taylor Moton are likely to get tagged, and Cheap Jake Delhomme Jersey it wouldn’t be surprising to see Lions WR Kenny Golladay to find the same fate. I’m a little more up in the air on Seahawks CB Shaquill Griffin, Packers RB Aaron Jones and Jets S Marcus Maye.

• And while we’re here, I wouldn’t expect a ton of news before the March 9 deadline (Tuesday is simply when the window opens) to tag guys. The reason teams wait? It allows some to hold the tag over two guys (Tampa would be an example, with Godwin and Shaq Barrett set to be free agents), and keeps open the chance to tag a second guy if the guy that was earmarked for the tag initially gets a deal. The caveat this year Cheap Jonathan Stewart Jersey is that with the cap likely to go down, it’ll be much harder for cap-strapped teams (like Pittsburgh with Bud Dupree) to swallow the single-year lump-sum number that comes with franchising a player.

• Fun fact that I got from ex-Chargers coach Mike McCoy last week that I’m not sure I’d heard before: The famed Wildcat package was actually named after ex-Northwestern quarterback Brett Basanez. Back when McCoy was with the Panthers, a decade and a half ago, Carolina unveiled the look with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart running the zone-read. But initially, the idea was borne of building in contingencies if Basanez, an option quarterback in college,and the third-stringer behind Jake Delhomme and Chris Weinke, was forced into action. Basanez’s alma mater? Northwestern. Hence, the Wildcat. From there, then Carolina OC Dan Henning went to Miami with it, and Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams put it on the front page in 2009, and made the term (which is for a personnel package, more than a scheme look) a permanent part of our lexicon. And, of course, the Panthers’ coach responsible for it was John Fox, who wound up being the Broncos’ coach during the Tebowmania season of 2011, which is what McCoy and I were on the phone to talk about, in the wake Tim Tebow’s retirement from baseball. “Yeah, we just took advantage of Cheap Taylor Moton Jersey what Tim did best, and that’s what it’s all about,” McCoy said. “Coaches, players, everyone adjusted to what we did best, and Foxy got everyone to buy-in. Everyone bought into that style, it wasn’t just Tim. And it was exciting, because it was always different, every week.”

• Amid the messiness of the Texans’ situation, a certain perception of GM Nick Caserio has emerged among some NFL people that he’s just “Bill Belichick, Scouting Edition.” And I don’t know if that’s a fair picture to paint. To me, one example that he’s not lies in who he picked to be his head coach—ex-Ravens assistant David Culley. Caserio has told people that he believes you need a different type of coach, more of a unifier, to reach players and build the right culture, than you did in generations past. That’s what Culley is, to be sure. So I do think, at least in one early example in his tenure, and with the biggest decision he’s made to this point, he’s shown that he can veer from the path that was laid out for him over his first couple decades in the NFL.

The Albert Breer Show is back on its own podcast feed! Subscribe for Albert’s insight and info, with guests including the biggest names in football.

• And while we’re there, here’s another point: Caserio has shown signs he’ll be more inclusive with his scouts and coaches than New England was in the draft and free-agent process. Caserio oversaw a department in Foxboro that dealt with an exodus of rising stars who didn’t feel involved enough working for the Patriots. And while he was there, those around Caserio saw him evolve from a guy who was uptight and hyper-concerned with carrying himself as a Patriot, so to speak, early in his time as the scouting chief (2009 to ‘11) to someone who was far more comfortable in his own skin and a little less Belichickian, at the end. I’ve maintained all along that Caserio, for all else that went wrong, was a really good hire. And, of course, given the situation brewing around Deshaun Watson, he’ll have to prove he was.

• My buddy Ian Rapoport over at NFL Network reported earlier Monday that Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was diagnosed with COVID-19, which was the impetus for the team closing its facility as a precaution last week. As I understand it, it’s also slowed the team’s process a little in resolving the Ben Roethlisberger situation. The sides, of course, do have time to work out some adjustment to the $19 million he’s due in 2021. But the longer it drags out, the more time Pittsburgh has to sniff around other options, as well.

• Cam Newton did a very interesting interview on the I AM ATHLETE podcast with Brandon Marshall, Chad Ochocinco and Fred Taylor. And in it, Newton left the door wide open for a return to New England. Asked if he’d go back on a one-year deal, Newton responded, “Hell yes.” And while explaining his struggles, he spoke of Belichick and Josh McDaniels in fairly reverential terms. I’d say this, too: The Patriots have a full understanding of how a stripped-down skill-position group and the scheme adjustment from Tom Brady handcuffed Newton in Year 1. So I’ll say it again: Do not rule out Newton going back for a second go-round in Foxboro. I don’t think he’ll be back without competition. But I do think based on the way he worked, and how he fit into the culture, he bought himself enough capital in the building to where, if a clear upgrade isn’t available, the Patriots would look at bringing him back.

• I genuinely love this from new Lions coach Dan Campbell, via MLive.com: “I said this to Chris [Spielman] the other day, I was like, ‘I love the fact we’re only known as meatheads. I’m a meathead? I have limited brain capacity? I like [that people think] that. I’m good with that, you know what I mean? I have zero problem with it. That whole press conference was literally for our team and our fans and community and people that want the Lions to succeed. … I want to be in Detroit. I want this job, because I identify with this job. You talk about it fitting like a glove? This thing fits me like no other, because I just feel like I can relate to this. I understand, man. I think I’m kind of a gritty guy, you know? Without trying to toot my own horn, I just know who I am.” This is very, very similar to what Campbell said to me last month after his press conference, and it very much fits a principle that one of Campbell’s mentors, Bill Parcells, had: Don’t talk to the media, talk through the media. The idea was to have another audience in mind. And in his players and his new city, Campbell sure did.