Major Charlotte philanthropist cut from Panthers

Major Charlotte philanthropist cut from Panthers

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by MICHELLE BOUDIN / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @MichelleBoudin

WCNC.com

Posted on March 13, 2013 at 6:11 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 13 at 6:41 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- James Anderson spent his whole professional career here in Charlotte with the Panthers-- until he was cut on Tuesday.

It happened just as he was getting ready to represent the team on a humanitarian trip to help hundreds of kids.

NBC Charlotte caught up with him during his usual workout on a Ballantyne playing field.

“I’ll just put these headphones on and go into my own little world,” he said.

He needed the distraction.

“It’s been a couple days and I don’t think it’s actually hit me yet... when the reality of it hits me, I’ll probably have a different feeling,” the 29-year-old said of his firing.

After seven seasons, the coaches just cut him.

“Finishing out here would have been great-- to stay in one city. But this is the NFL and not a lot of guys get to do that,” Anderson stated.

It’s especially hard because Anderson has spent a lot of time getting to know his adopted hometown and letting them get to know him.

“My mom was a teacher and my dad was a preacher so growing up I was always taught to give back and look out for other people.

Last year he visited a school where students had bullied a classmate.

On Thursday, he's heading to Mexico to teach more than a thousand kids to play the game he loves.

“You get an opportunity as an athlete that’s unique-- that people actually listen to you when you talk. I always want to try to take advantage of that and try to spread a positive message and help some kids along the way,” he expressed.

Two seasons ago, Anderson set a team record for tackles-- a record that rookie linebacker Luke Kuechly broke last year.

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