Panthers 'thieves' talk teamwork, defining moments and who they really are

The Panthers "Thieves" open up about performance

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - They are one of the most entertaining groups on the Carolina Panthers team - the defensive backs, better known to Panthers fans as the "thieves."

Josh Norman, Roman Harper, Kurt Coleman, and Tre Boston sat down for a group interview with WBTV before leaving for Super Bowl 50.

When asked what made them really gel this season, Josh Norman answered, "These teammates genuinely do care, and it's one of those things where everybody is fighting hard for one another and they're trying to help instead of hinder you or even try to belittle you or anything like that."

They also talked about the nickname "thieves" and where it started.

"You know Coach Washington," said Norman. "It started back in OTAs. We said we were going to lead the team in takeaways."

"It was the first vision we had as a collective group," said Kurt Coleman. "We were going to take every ball that was thrown our way, but then as Roman and Josh have been saying at the training camp we built such a camaraderie that we believe that it wasn't just a saying - that is who we are.

That motto has now become a way of life for the group - so much so that they even took a Thieves Avenue sign with them to hang up in the locker room for the Super Bowl.

"It's kind of neat to see [the fans] embrace it as well. Over social media, I've seen it tons of times," said Tre Boston.

They also share their defining moments of the season that brought them to where they are now, a chance to bring home the Lombardi Trophy to Charlotte for the first time ever.

"When we beat Seattle in Seattle, it just kind of solidified it," Roman Harper said. "Understanding we can conquer all things this year. I knew this was our time."

"For us to come out with that W in a comeback in the 4th quarter, that really showed us we can do everything," Boston added. "There's nothing we can't do."

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"It's a testament to this team about who we've become, and about how fast you've got to gel together in training camp to be like, 'alright man, we are brothers, and this is what it's all about and everybody is pulling in the same direction.' When you play for a team and put 'self last you're going to be successful," Harper continued.

When asked to describe one another, in one word, the guys showed how much they have bonded.

"You can't just put a ceiling on me. I'm gonna give you what I got, this guy right here [refering to Tre Boston], I'm really proud of him. I truly am," Kurt Coleman said. "I've been in his situation where someone plays over you and you can be resentful, but this guy actually enjoys the success that we have, vice versa, I enjoy the success I've seen from him. So with Tre, I'm gonna say you're special. Special."

"Coleman back here, this is mister can do it all. You name it Kurt Coleman, off the field," Boston replied. "I look up to all these guys, but Kurt Coleman - his off the field habits and the way he is around his family, as fast as he wants to get to them after meetings and stuff it just shows how oriented he is off the field."

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Josh Norman called Roman Harper "Mr. Harper, Roman Harper, Aka Roman the Wise."

"Sometimes people can't talk to me or get to me. Shoot, even Mr. Gettleman said 'no one can talk to you. Let's get Roman to come talk to you, everybody just seems to listen to Roman maybe the gray hair will fool you or what I don't know'," Norman joked. "We started off early man and Rome came and we had that conversation so from that point on I was just really sold on Roman and how he came and just brought everybody together."

Harper referenced Norman as an enigma.

"It's because nobody can figure him out, but he's exactly what we need and exactly what we ask him to be, which is himself everyday," Harper added. "He makes the easy plays way harder than he has to, you know what I mean. He's gotta make it a show. It's just what he is man and we love him."

Harper says the kindship of the team and his role as a leader is about more than himself.

"It's not only making yourself better, but making others better and that's what this game is about. You know when you leave it what are you actually leaving behind. You want to have a nice legacy and that's what I talk to these guys about all the time."

"Anybody can make money in the league but what are you really lastins? What is your everlasting impression on people, communities, and things like that and that's what it's all about," he continued. "Longevity in this league, not everybody has that. Everybody can make a splash for a year or two but are you really making a real imprint, not only on yourself, but others lives as well?"

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