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Notre Dame Football

CB Troy Pride Jr. Ready to Contribute for Panthers

September 5, 2020

The 2020 NFL season is set to begin next week and it will be the first game for all rookies as there will be no preseason games due to the pandemic. 

Carolina Panthers rookie Troy Pride Jr. has been running with the first team at cornerback and even nickel, but he’s not too worried about not getting a few preseason games under his belt.

"We prepare well each and every day - competing and doing our best to get better," Pride stated on a Zoom call with reporters. "That's my ultimate goal - to contribute to this team in whatever way, shape, or fashion it is. I want to be a contributor to this team. That's what I work for each day in my competition and how I do things. 

"We do enough competition daily. If you got it, you're going to show it." 

That said, there have been distractions due to the pandemic, but Pride and the rest of the NFL have worked through the challenges. 

"It's been a great process," said Pride. "With COVID and everything going around, it's been hard to hone in on your craft. Each and every day, us as DBs, we work on something specific and I've continued to do that." 

The NFL has shown and proven they are taking the COVID-19 world seriously as the latest testing results were an excellent sign. 

From August 21-August 29, 58,621 tests were given to over 8,700 players and personnel members. Four players tested positive, while six personnel members received a positive test. 

Pride has taken steps to make sure he doesn't end up on that list, including when his family comes to visit. 

"It's about having my hand sanitizer in my glove compartment, having extra masks and everything handy if I were to forget one," explained Pride. "When my parents visit, having hand sanitizer when they walk in the door. 

"It's making sure when I go to the grocery store, I have a mask on and I'm not touching things with my bare hands without washing them—just being safe and courteous to others. I'm obviously practicing social distancing, not getting too close to someone, not breathing anybody's air and really being safe."

Pride's first game will be at home on Sept. 13th against Las Vegas, but there will be no fans. That means his family will not be able to make the 1.5 hour drive to see him play his first game live, but it's not a significant deal to the former Notre Dame cornerback. 

"I carry my support system very close to me everywhere I go," Pride said. "They may not be there in person, but I know in my heart who is supporting me and the energy I feel before the game. The passion I play with, it's for individuals that are watching and supporting me. 

"Everything I take into the game, fans or no fans, is going to be the same passion, the same desire, the same will and the same effort. That's all for the people that support me. Them not being there in person doesn't really change what I'm going to continue to do on the field." 

The Panthers, behind first-year coach Matt Rhule, seem to be focused on defense. Cam Newton is gone and the Panthers look to build around a young secondary featuring Pride and Jeremy Chinn, a second pick. 

"It's been great," said Pride. "Chinn is my guy. We were working out in Dallas pre-combine. We ended up coming to the same place. It's our entire class. So many guys have put in the work and we're all working together to contribute."

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