(on why his relationship with Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera has been successful) "I think it's because of Coach Rivera, he's been so transparent for us as players. A lot of coaches says, the cliché analogy, I have the open-door policy and do this this, that and the third, but for Coach Rivera, it's kind of been true, true to life. He's always made himself available not only for the coaches and players, but for anyone family-oriented in the organization. As well as it helps that he's played in the league and knows kind of the strongholds that we go through from being sore after games, mentally needing time off or just having a whole understanding of things that he has been through, as well as we're going through as well."
(on the Panthers' wide receiving corps) "Those guys have been playing lights out since day one, to say the least, from Ted Ginn (Jr.), who was a bust for so many people. I heard Jerricho Cotchery was washed up 10 years ago, Philly Brown had no hands, Devin Funchess was too high of a pick for the Carolina Panthers, Brenton Bersin, who knows who he is, and just things of that sort. But for us, we didn't let anyone else dictate to us that we knew what we were capable of. It's a very close-knit group and guys selling out for each other."
(on what he was hoping to get out of his year at Blinn College and how that year shaped him) "I don't know what I wanted to get out of Blinn, I just wanted the opportunity. I think mentally, when I was in a dream college, I was mentally hurt. I needed some type of confidence, to regain confidence of even playing the quarterback position let alone football, because I hadn't played important downs in so long. I think it was two years that I was at Florida, but for me, to bounce back and have the supporting cast that I did have at Blinn, and I was on a great team there. We had athletes all over. That gave me the confidence that I needed, that I still carry to this day."
(on the team's chemistry and how it began building in the offseason) "We were lot of guys that loved to compete from OTAs to training camp. When you've got a lot of guys that love competition, it's going to bring out the best in everybody. You're going to really see the true size of guys. From defensively, offensively, we don't really necessarily go live in special teams, but for offensively and defensively, we had guys that were battling each and every day and that's what you want to see. We may practice game-like, that's what coach stresses and harps on each and every day. For us to go through what we've been through, there were some tempers that flared, people had their opinions about that, but I don't know a team that's great that doesn't take each and every opportunity that they get to try to get better, and that's what we did."
(on Eugene Robinson sharing his experiences with the team) "It was shocking to most. I know a lot of guys didn't expect that, but for him to have that attitude to open up his life and his story for us, we knew who he was and what he did for the Panthers, it just shows you what type of organization we have. A lot of guys wouldn't necessarily be comfortable with telling everyone their story, but he did and he told us and I think a lot of guys kind of stepped back and understood the value and the importance of staying focused in an environment like this."
(on if there are skills that Peyton Manning has that he wishes he could emulate) "A lot of things that Peyton has done, is doing, that I wish I could mimic, but I can't do it like Peyton can, because only he can do it. I try to translate other things I learned from him or have seen him do or other quarterbacks do in this league and I try to apply it to my own."
(on the advice he would give to a high school student) "Dream. Don't be afraid to dream. I was in their position. At times, I find myself thinking like a high school student, 16, 17 years old. Whatever you decide to do, whether you're a firefighter, I'll tell you what my father told me: just be good at something. He said if you're good at something, if you're great at something, you can always get compensated for it whether you're the best firefighter, you're the best police officer, you're the best artist, the best rapper, the best preacher, football player, basketball player, your talent, your skill alone will get you compensated for what you want in this life. I'm happy that I had the influence of people like my father in my life and it's carried me through to this part that I'm in right now."
(on the importance of continuity in the coaching staff to his development) "Very important. I think a secret weapon that I've had since day one for me has been Mike Shula. I won't let him hear me say that. He's been a father figure for so many of us on the field, in meeting rooms. For him to be a part of my career since day one, him being my quarterback coach my rookie year and him moving and staying on the same coaching staff as being the offensive coordinator, him knowing me throughout this whole process has been very important for my growth."
(on the popularity of the Panthers' Spanish language radio broadcasters) "Well I'm trilingual myself. I am. I know how to speak Spanish, English obviously, and I speak pretty good Ebonics. We always see an audio clip of them giving the play-by-play of the games we've played and the highlight videos leading up to the game. It's kind of weird, but funny just to hear what they're saying. We don't know what they're saying. We often ask Coach Rivera to kind of translate what they're saying. I know they're screaming and their tone, and I think that's the great thing about language as a whole. You don't necessarily have to know what they're talking about to hear their tone and notice that they're excited about whatever they're saying."
(on what it means to him to have signed a jersey for the mother who lost her son to cancer) "Just a situation like that kind of puts a lot of resolve to the big picture of why you play this game. I'm pretty sure a lot of people know about the criticism that I've received since day one, but as much criticism as I get, to have a heartwarming story that pretty much nobody wants to hear, but when it becomes news to me, it kind of makes me feel great. It makes me understand that it's a lot of purpose to what I do."
(on the impact of Coach Rivera allowing the team to express its personality) "I don't know if it's helped us, because at the end of the day, we've still got to play football. A lot of people get detoured or forget the true meaning of football. Yeah, it doesn't matter outside the play, but the average NFL play is only run from four to six seconds, and in that four to six seconds, you can pretty much be who you are or listen to coaching and make sure you play out the exact things that you've been coached to do, and everything after that is just kind of fluff. When people see us play, that's after those four to six seconds when we're doing that. When those four to six seconds happen, you see 11 guys offensively, defensively and special teams that's locked in and dialed in, and that's what people overlook at times. Yeah, we have a lot of character and charisma and a lot of personality in the locker room, but yet the big picture that everyone should be talking about is those four to six seconds. You got guys that can do this or got guys that can do that, but the importance is when that ball is snapped, you're where you're supposed to be and you do what you're supposed to be doing no matter who you are."
(on his pride in watching Deshaun Watson develop) "Little Deshaun, man, he's special. For me to see him at a young age in high school and for him to flourish the way he's flourished over the years, and he's still not done yet. He's kind of been a person that I've mentored and not just him, but any person that has come through my foundation. He played in the seven-on-seven tournament. He was on my all-star tournament for my seven-on-seven team. Any one of those guys that we talked to, not only myself, but anybody affiliated with my staff, has always reached out and tried to help the betterment of kids. But to see them flourish in the things that they've done, it's unbelievable. Not only him. We've got a younger kid, Terry Godwin, at the University of Georgia. Obviously, Deshaun, Cam Sutton, he's at University of Tennessee now. We've got numerous guys, not only just him, that have been making an impact and living their dream playing the sport that they've been playing for so long and holding and grasping. An oval-shaped pigskin has taken them a long way. It's going to take them a longer way if they respect the game and stay true to who they are."
(on what he wants his legacy to be as a black quarterback) "I don't even want to touch on the topic of black quarterback, because I think this game is bigger than black, white or even green. So I think we limit ourselves when we just label ourselves just black, this, that and the third. I wanted to bring awareness because of that, but yet I don't think I should be labeled just a black quarterback, because it's bigger things in this sport that need to be accomplished."
(on the stereotype of black quarterbacks not being able to play from the pocket) "I think we shattered that a long time ago."
(on stereotypes around black quarterbacks being an issue) "It's not an issue. It's an issue for you."
(on if he has ever shied away from attention and performing while being scrutinized) "No. I've said numerous times that I play to have a stage that people will listen to, and I pray to God that I do right by my influence. So when you ask me a question about African-American or being black and mobile, it's bigger than that, because when I go places and I talk to kids and I talk to parents and I talk to athletes all over, and they look at my story and they see a person, African-American or not, they see something that they can relate to. They see a guy who went a different route than just going to a major Division I school and flourishing there. Yeah, I made mistakes. It's plenty of people; if you guys had a resume of things you made a mistake from the age that you was 13 on to the average age right here now, is what, 46? Just teasing, but I just wanted to become relatable. It's bigger than race. It's more so opening up the door for guys that don't want to be labeled, that have bigger views than say, well, I'm in this situation. I'm limited in this environment right now, but I also want to be an artist, I want to be a poet, but I don't have the means to necessarily do the right things at that particular point. So, for me, I'm living the dream that I've always envisioned myself living when I was eight, nine, 10 years old. I would always write down on career days, I want to be a football player. But yet my teacher used to always say, ‘Yeah, but you can't put all your eggs in one basket.' I remember coming to tears, telling her, ‘No, I really want to be a football player. I'm going to be a football player.' And so these are for the people that dream and believe that no matter what another person may say, they know what they want to be and when they're actually living it out like they want to. As for me, I just want to give all of those people hope."
(on what he believes a ticket to Super Bowl 50 should cost) "I don't know. It's the only football game that's going on. I think football season is pretty much over. These are the last two teams playing whether in rec (recreational) ball, college and professionally, it's the only game that's going on.
(on what he would pay to attend the game) "I don't have to pay anything. I have a front row seat."
(on how he has elevated his game to his current level) "I'm not sure if I can finger point to something that I've changed. I don't know if I... it's a broad question. We're just playing great football and we're accompanying each other offensively and defensively and we take a lot of pressure off each other when the defense gets a turnover or the defense gets a three-and-out and gives the offense great field position. Our offense is not just getting field goals, we're putting up points and I think that goes unmentioned a lot, because a lot of teams have great offenses. A lot of teams have great defenses. This team may have a great punter or field goal kicker, but for us, we're just playing unbelievable great team football that shows and it flourishes when you see a 49-point game or you see a 31-point game, or a 40-point game. It's not because their offense is playing lights out. Our starting field position may be starting at the 50-yard line, so we only have to get two or three first downs to even get points with our great kicker we have in (kicker Graham) Gano and (punter) Brad Nortman. Those guys have been playing unbelievable for us all season. That's why I want to attribute a lot of success to great team play."