CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CHARLOTTE SPORTS LIVE) — Kamu Grugier-Hill is not one to back down from a challenge.
“I think I have been an underdog my whole life,” the Panthers linebacker reflects ahead Sunday’s game at Seattle. “I just have really embraced that role.”
The 29-year-old seems to thrive on defying the odds. It’s how he made it to the NFL despite not picking up a football until his senior year of high school.
“I mean once I took football on,” Grugier-Hill recalls. “I just dove in and just never stopped.”
And so in the face of replacing Shaq Thompson in Carolina’s lineup, perhaps the biggest task of his career in his first year in Carolina, he isn’t batting an eyelash. Besides, there’s something else on his mind.
“It was crazy man,” he sighs. “I can’t believe it. Even though the media side of it, has died down a lot, it’s is still very real, there right?”
Grugier-Hill has been thinking about Hawaii a lot these days. The home that shaped his fearless spirit is now in shambles after August’s devastating wildfires that killed almost 100 people and left thousands more homeless on the island of Maui.
“You want to help, but I’m so far away so it’s this helpless feeling,” he said.
Per his style though, Grugier-Hill knew he had to take action. But as he’d discover, he wouldn’t have to do it alone.
“It was a little bit of that where we just had some ties, some guys from Hawaii, and we all came together and we just said let’s do this,” he said.
The players decided to create a goal-based system in which they’d donate to charity based on their performances. Grugier-Hill for example will give $1,000 dollars every time he or one of his teammates gets an interception.
Hence the reason he was so pumped after Von Bell picked one off against the Saints.
“Aw, it’s nice,” he smiles. “It’s the first thing I thought of when I saw him going up. It was awesome.”
Much like replacing Thompson, it’s a huge undertaking. But if there’s anyone up for it, it’s Grugier-Hill.
“There is just such a support,” he explains. “We’re there for them.”
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