CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carolina Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson is ready to step up on and off the field for the team this year.
Entering his sixth season, and fresh off a big contract extension, Thompson is expected to fill the void left by the recent departures of Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis.
Thompson has been nursing a sore groin in training camp, but recently told WCNC Charlotte's Ashley Stroehlein that he'll be ready to play Week 1 when the team hosts the Las Vegas Raiders.
Thompson has also started the Shaq Thompson Legacy Fund, in part, to help low-income students with dental hygiene.
"My mom wasn't able to take us to the dentist and get our teeth cleaned every six months," Thompson told Stroehlein. "I want to make sure these kids have a confidence in their smile. If you have a confidence nobody's going to break that from you, you're going to live your best life."
You can watch Thompson's entire interview with Stroehlein on WCNC Charlotte's special, "Carolina Panthers: A Season of Uncertainty," this Sunday at 7:30 p.m.