Pan­thers’ Terry God­win finds sup­port from fel­low rookie Ge­or­gia WRs else­where.

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - Sports - BY MAR­CEL LOUIS-JAC­QUES mlouis­[email protected]­lot­teob­server.com Mar­cel Louis-Jac­ques: 704-358-5015, @Marcel_LJ

Rookie mini­camp is meant to make a team’s new­est mem­bers un­com­fort­able. A new play­book, a new set­ting, new team­mates – even with all this change, it’s vi­tal for each player to re­mem­ber what got him to this point.

Carolina Pan­thers rookie Terry God­win gets that re­minder reg­u­larly, cour­tesy of a cou­ple of for­mer team­mates.

The sev­enth-round draft pick in 2019, along with the Kansas City Chiefs’ Mecole Hard­man (sec­ond round) and the Chicago Bears’ Ri­ley Ri­d­ley (fourth), rep­re­sent the first Ge­or­gia draft class to fea­ture three wide re­ceivers. They re­main in con­stant con­tact as they be­gin their NFL ca­reers; they’re no longer able to see each other ev­ery day, but it’s 2019 – so their cell­phones of­fer the next-best thing.

“Me, Mecole and Ri­ley, we’ve all got our own group mes­sage,” God­win said af­ter the fi­nal day of Carolina’s rookie mini­camp Satur­day. “We just keep our­selves up­lifted and tell each other we’re watch­ing and to keep do­ing what we’ve been do­ing that got us here.

“Just keep push­ing, when things get tough, you’ve just got to dig deep and go back to our roots.”

So that’s what God­win did, start­ing with a rainy Fri­day morn­ing ses­sion. Sev­eral play­ers dropped passes as quar­ter­backs Kyle Allen and Will Grier flung soak­ing-wet foot­balls through a steady cur­tain of water. Ex­cept No. 17, who fully ex­tended to snag the oc­ca­sional balls thrown be­hind him, in front of him and over his head.

All with­out gloves. He cred­its Ge­or­gia for that habit.

“At Ge­or­gia, rainy days, wet gloves – you go no gloves,” he said. “It ac­tu­ally helps with the hand­eye co­or­di­na­tion. You’ve ac­tu­ally got to look the ball in. So when you put the gloves on, it’s eas­ier.”

Weather aside, God­win said the phys­i­cal por­tion of Carolina’s camp once again re­minded him of his col­lege days; the Bull­dogs did a lot of con­di­tion­ing dur­ing his four years.

Play­ing in the SEC also pre­pared God­win for the ev­ery-day need to bring his best to the field – a trait Pan­thers gen­eral man­ager Marty Hur­ney said was pur­pose­fully com­mon among each of the team’s seven draft picks.

But bring­ing your “Agame” at this level in­volved both phys­i­cal and men­tal prepa­ra­tion, the lat­ter of which is the true test of rookie camp. For God­win, that meant stay­ing in wide re­ceivers coach Jim Hostler’s ear, ask­ing ques­tions and ap­ply­ing ad­vice and crit­i­cism.

Coach Ron Rivera took no­tice.

“I think the big­gest thing is you see the ea­ger­ness, the will­ing­ness to learn and get things cor­rect,” Rivera said Satur­day. “That’s one thing we also watch, is who’s tak­ing coach­ing.

“Watch­ing Jim with Terry and lis­ten­ing to them talk, you sit there and feel re­ally good about it be­cause you know the young man is ab­sorb­ing what he’s be­ing told.”

Even if God­win strug­gles to crack what projects to be a deep ro­ta­tion at re­ceiver, Rivera said af­ter the draft the rookie would get an op­por­tu­nity to make an im­pact as a re­turner this sea­son – some­thing God­win didn’t do much of at Ge­or­gia.

If his rookie camp was any in­di­ca­tion, he’ll con­tinue to seek coach­ing as he learns the nu­ances to play­ing re­ceiver and re­turner.

And he knows en­cour­age­ment is a text mes­sage away.

DAVID T. FOS­TER III dt­fos­[email protected]­lot­teob­server.com

Carolina Pan­thers rook­ies Eli­jah Holy­field, left, and Terry God­win take a break dur­ing the sec­ond ses­sion of rookie camp at the team’s prac­tice field Fri­day.

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