Ryan Kalil went to the press first.
In a big way.
The Carolina Panthers Pro Bowl center purchased an ad in the Charlotte Observer and in it he predicts the club will win the Super Bowl this season in New Orleans. Kalil wrote an open letter to fans thanking them for their “unwavering support” and promising they would be rewarded this season with a “one hundred-percent, sterling silver victory. The Lombardi Trophy.”
Kalil didn’t notify anyone with the club first about his plans, he told Joe Person of the Observer, because he didn’t want anyone to try to dissuade him from the move.
“Every team says it every year, whether it’s publicly or not,” Kalil said. “They say they’re going to win the Super Bowl.
“We’ve said it in the past in meeting rooms and behind closed doors. This year’s different. There’s a sense of urgency, a winning attitude that I haven’t seen before. And it’s in the way we prepare. It’s in the way we approach each work day, and I think fans will see it in the way that we play.”
It is an exciting time for the club as it enters its second season with Ron Rivera as coach. He instilled a fresh attitude last season and quarterback Cam Newton proved to be a dynamic performer from the outset. There are some building blocks in place, there is no question about that.
“There’s something different going on with the Panthers. There’s a different attitude, a sense of urgency, a different mindset that I haven’t seen since I’ve been here,” Kalil said. “And the sentiment is widespread. It’s not just in the players or the coaches. But the entire organization.”
Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs
Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune
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