Returning to his roots, with Panthers “DNA”

No matter how this turns out — and there’s still no guarantee he’ll be activated this week — that’s the key part of this story.

Norman was planted here as a fifth-round rookie in 2012. He was cultivated by Wilks, who was his defensive backs coach in those formative years. And he grew from a player with promise to an All-Pro. So coming home, rejoining his former coach, to play whatever role is something Norman is eager to do.

“Everything we’ve done, all this time we’ve been in the league, has been off this mantra of Steve Wilks,” Norman said. “The mindset, the four weapons: your eyes, feet, hips, or hands. Literally, that will either make or break you. The mentality is never going to waver in that sense. It’s always stuck with me.

“When we say ‘Keep Pounding,’ we really mean that in every sense of the word. So the mentality is almost a loss for words; it’s more action than anything else. The pedigree that I stand on, the footsteps I walk in, the Luke Kuechlys, the Charles Johnsons, the Thomas Davises, and the people who stand here now, it’s the ghost of their past. And I carry that.”

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