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Shaq Thompson looks to take on leadership role for Carolina Panthers

Panthers, Shaq Thompson

Carolina Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson is ready to take more of a leadership role with the team. Thompson at one point was part of a dynamic linebacker duo alongside Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis. Fast forward a few years, and Davis now plays for the Washington Redskins and Kuechly has retired from the league.

When Davis and Kuechly were on the squad, they were the leaders on the defense, but with both gone, now it’s time for Thompson to step up. Thompson commented on the situation on NFL Network’s Total Access on Wednesday:

“You had to bring that one up. I’m still hurting to this day about that one. I lost a great friend, a brother, just a great teammate overall. Luke taught me a lot in my five years, just playing alongside of him and just playing and just learning from him. I’m gonna go out there and try my best. Luckily, we still have him in the organization, in the office. So he can probably come down and show us things and stuff like that. So he’ll still be around to help out with any questions, any football things on and off the field. So, we’re glad to have him. But I gotta step up as the last linebacker [of that] trio that we had with Thomas Davis and Luke. So I gotta step up and fill that role and be that leader.”

Thompson is coming off his best season of his career in 2019, racking up 109 tackles (11 for a loss) and three sacks. Not only will Thompson need to take a leadership role with his voice, the Panthers are counting on him to take a big step forward with his play.

Keuchly was one of the best defensive players in football and filling his shoes is going to be tough. But Thompson needs to be elite in the 2020 season to uphold the Panthers’ defensive standards.