Player Spotlight: S Haruki Nakamura

Dale Zanine-US PRESSWIRE

Training camp has officially begun and there are only 43 more days until the season begins.

Fun Facts About The Number 43

43 is one of the terms in Sylvester's sequence. In number theory, this sequence is defined as an integer sequence in which each member of the sequence is the product of the previous members, plus one. With that being said, can you answer correctly the next number in this sequence without looking it up:

2, 3, 7, 43, ?

Most of Richard Petty's wins during his legendary racing career were in his famous number 43 car.

How many of you knew that legendary NASCAR driver, Dale Earnhardt Sr, died in the 43rd running of the Daytona 500 in 2001.

ESPN NASCAR analyst and former NBA center, Brad Daugherty, chose the number 43(now retired) in honor of his favorite race car driver, Richard Petty.

MLB Hall of Fame reliever, Dennis Eckersley, wore the number 43 while playing for the Oakland Athletics. On a side note, how many of you can say they were watching when he gave up a game winning home run to a hobbled Kirk Gibson of the LA Dodgers in the first game of the 1988 World Series?

How many of you have ever driven on Interstate 43 in Wisconsin?

FS Haruki Nakamura

At the beginning of the 2012 season, we were optimistic about what we could finally get from the free safety position, especially after 2011. You remember that season, right? The last line of defense was being manned by one Sherrod Martin, who couldn't seem to get out of his own way. His forgettable season was highlighted by an unacceptable surrendered last second touchdown just before the end of the first half against New Orleans in the season finale.

Unfortunately for Martin, his accumulated tackling and instinctual errors were all caught on tape, and the star witness just so happened to be looking from above the whole time. Some of you will remember the disdain in our owner's responses in an interview conducted by Tom Sorenson of the Charlotte Observer following the 2012 season.

While replying to Sorenson's word(name) associations, Richardson heaped praise on players like Steve Smith, Deangelo Williams, and Thomas Davis. Conversely, when Sorenson brought up Martin's name, his comments were a bit on the short and bitter side. It went a little something like this:

Sorenson: Sherrod Martin?

Richardson: What about him?

Sorenson: What do you think about him?

Richardson: I think he plays safety.

Sherrod Martin's starting role in Carolina was, for all intents and purposes, over with at that point, and Richardson was just bluntly stating the obvious in his own special way.

Enter Haruki Nakamura.

In retrospect, none of us were wrong for being optimistic about what we could potentially get from free safety Nakamura following his signing in the spring of 2012. After all, he backed up one of the best free safeties of all time in Baltimore. One of the theories floating around was that Nakamura may have learned to play like Ed Reed by osmosis. Once he was afforded the opportunity, he would surely show the world just how ready he was to start successfully in the NFL. Well, not so much.

It didn't take long to figure out that the Haruki Nakamura starting-at-free-safety-experiment was a massive failure. In fact, all you have to do is remove Martin's name from the transcript above and replace it with Nakamura's name in order to get an idea of what Richardson would have said had he agreed to a similar interview this off-season. Like most fans, I'm sure our owner had a case of deja vu when Nakamura gave up a long completion to Roddy White with less than a minute remaining in a pivotal week four match-up against the division rival Falcons. The Panthers went on to lose on a heart breaking, season defining last second Matt Bryant field goal shortly thereafter.

That was and still is the bad news.

However, the good news is that Nakamura was sensible enough to take a pay cut in order to remain with the Panthers as a back-up safety and standout special teamer. I suppose this could have turned out worse for both parties. But I do believe the right call was made, and we also shouldn't discount the possibility of significant improvement for a still young Nakamura(27).

Nevertheless, I believe there's an outside chance number 43 becomes a late training camp cut, but I certainly won't be expecting it. How about you CSR?

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