SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Here are some excerpts from Carolina Panthers linebacker and former Grant High School star Shaq Thompson during his media availability on Tuesday.

On his journey from Grant High School in Sacramento to being a rookie in Super Bowl 50

“The journey’s been crazy. But I enjoyed everything from my high school to college years and never dreamed of playing in the Super Bowl. But everything worked out and I’m here playing in Super Bowl 50.”

On who he looked up to from Grant High School

“Of course my brother. My brother was a big one and I’m just … he’s my older brother. I mean I always looked up to him, always did what he did as a kid and he’s my biggest role model. He was like a father figure to me. I watched him do everything.”

On Luke Kuechly and being correct in everything he does

“Yeah that’s just Luke. I mean that’s his personality. Like I said he’s a great guy. Luke is, I mean that’s why he’s a captain. You know he’s a good guy, we all appreciate him and we all love the guy.”

On the importance of Thomas Davis playing

“Thomas is gonna do anything he can to get out on the field. This game, he’s not gonna miss. But I can’t speak on him. But as a team we’re all gonna be ready and we’re all gonna prepare.”

On his relationship with Jerry Richardson and how involved he is as an owner

“He’s very involved with the whole team. He comes down to practice, drives the cart, just to watch the practice and he’s a great guy. I mean he’s a great owner and look what he’s done with putting the team together. And we love him and respect him.”

On interacting with Jerry Richardson since he’s been drafted

“I speak to him every time he comes down. I mean that’s what everybody does. That’s what you should do. He’s the president, he’s the owner, you know, and he’s the big man around. And you need to respect him when he comes down, shake his hand and get some words in.”

On defensive leadership and who gets the defense fired up

“It’s everybody. The whole defense. We bring all the energy and it’s not just one guy. This defensive is a team thing and we all bring the juice.”

On keeping up with the level of play from last year’s defense in the secondary after all the turnover in the last year, as well as keeping Thieves Avenue going

“The Thieves, I mean they just do their own thing, you know. They’re great. I mean we work together from the front seven to the back and that’s all one motion. So without the front seven not working, then it’s putting stress on the DB’s, then they have to work extra hard. ”

On having a veteran like Cortland Finnegan come in

“It’s been great. Cortland’s been a great help to me, especially in that nickel position, and just teaching me a lot of stuff.”

On having media day behind you and being able to get into a rhythm

“We get back to focusing on this game and that’s one of the reasons why we came here. To finish out our season. We got one more game to go and we gotta stay focused. Enjoy the moment but we’re here for business.”

On getting drafted last spring and if he realistically thought he would be here

“No I did not. I mean I just expected to go out there and play. But just with all the preparation that we go through, and all the hard work that we do at practice, I mean we took it…this season we took it one game at a time. Our whole plan was to go 1-0 each and every week. We weren’t trying to go, oh let’s go 2-0. No we’re gonna go 1-0, we’re gonna focus on that team, that week.”

On his comment of never dreaming of playing in a Super Bowl and his mindset with that

“Just day to day. I mean I got to get to the NFL first before I make it to the Super Bowl. So my whole dream was to make it to the Super Bowl. Now since I got in the NFL, just to make it to a Super Bowl and I’m here in a Super Bowl now. The dream is to win the Super Bowl”


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