CHARLOTTE - Carolina Panthers third-year linebacker Shaq Thompson stopped by NBC Charlotte on Friday.
Many expect the University of Washington product to see the field and produce more in 2017, despite playing behind veteran Thomas Davis.
In two seasons, Thompson has made 22 starts, intercepted a pass, and returned a fumble for a touchdown.
He discussed a variety of topics with Sports Director Nick Carboni...
Nick: We've heard you're going to be on the field a little more in 2017?
Shaq: Yes. (Defensive coordinator) Steve Wilks has a lot of stuff planned for me. But my biggest thing is I'm going to go out there when my number is called. I'm just going to wait until my number is called and go out there.
Nick: You scored 2 TD's in college as a running back. Have you petitioned Ron Rivera for a wild cat, or Wild Shaq, package?
Shaq: No I don't go to Coach Rivera. But I do go to (running backs coach Jim Skipper) and ask him if he needs another running back. But he always says, 'yeah come on.' But in my heart I'll never go over there and attempt to run the ball unless it's in practice.
Nick: How does Cam Newton look coming off of shoulder surgery?
Shaq: He's looking good. About to be 100%. He's doing a lot of shoulder mobility stuff. I've seen the video everyone's seen of him throwing the football. He looks great. I just can't wait to get back out there with him. I'm ready for him to lead the team.
Nick: Do you miss the sound of his voice after minicamp? There's a lot of trash talk coming up in training camp?
Shaq: I do miss the sound of his voice, I'm not going to lie to you. He's a big guy. He's competitive. He has that trash talking ability that everybody has. He brings it out of everybody and grinds everybody's gears but in a good way. To make everybody compete, offense, defensive line. I really respect him as a leader, and everybody on our team does too.
Nick: Almost every NFL team has optimism this time of year. What's the biggest reason to be optimistic about the 2017 Carolina Panthers?
Shaq: Our downfall season that we had last year. We had a record (6-10) that we didn't like. Especially coming off of a Super Bowl season. So I think everybody's mindset is to get ready to get back to the Super Bowl. We're all going to work together and be a brotherhood, and we're going to get it right this year.
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