CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Every morning Thomas Davis rides into the Panthers practice facility with a few other veterans piled onto a golf cart. On Thursday, they let someone else jump on the backseat.
But 13-year-old Kyleigh Dean didn't just get a ride to practice with her favorite player, she spent the day with him.
"I've always liked defense, and he's like the master of defense in my opinion," Dean said of Davis.
The Conway, South Carolina football fan has congenital generalized lipodystrophy, but on Thursday she wore a Panthers jersey, helmet and brand new Jordan cleats from Thomas Davis and got to only focus on football.
"It was neat. I really liked it," she said after practice ended.
Davis taught her a few things throughout the day about football and communication.
"You have to talk to the players more, and you have to talk to the players when playing defense," Dean explained.
But he also let her know that sometimes talking is about drowning out the other noise.
"I laid the foundation early for Kyleigh and talked to her about what we do, We talk trash to Cam at practice all practice long. So he came up to her and he tried to speak to her and she stuck to it. She asked him a question she asked him why are you so salty and that made my day," Davis joked.
For Dean, it was an escape from a tougher reality. For Davis, a reminder that player for the Panthers isn't just about football.
"It definitely puts things into perspective. i feel like as professional athletes we have a responsibility to younger kids. And when you think about getting to interact and hang with Kyleigh and understand some of the struggles she's had to face as a young kid, you definitely want to make sure that when you get a chance to spend time with her that it's a special day so that's what we tried to do for her," Davis said.