Kawann Short plans to “step up and lead vocally” as longest-tenured Panthers defender

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Panthers defensive tackle Kawann Short last played a game in the second week of the 2019 season and the Panthers team he returned to at training camp looks a lot different than that one.

Luke Kuechly, Mario Addison, James Bradberry and Vernon Butler are gone from the defense and longtime stars Cam Newton and Greg Olsen are gone from the offense. All of the changes leave Short as the team’s only returning captain and longest-tenured member of the defense, which makes him the perfect choice to mentor first-round defensive lineman Derrick Brown.

“I’m the type of guy that tries to lead by example, and now going into that eighth season and really being a vet around here now, I have to step up and lead vocally,” Short said, via the team’s website. “So just showing Derrick and all those guys what I’ve done to put myself in position, and what they can do to help me, what I can do to help them — we’ve just got to work together.”

Short tore his rotator cuff in Week Two and deemed the surgical repair of that injury an “awesome success,” so the best-case scenario for the coming season is that he’ll be able to produce on the field while helping to groom a future leader of the defense off of it.