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Short takes advantage of opportunity

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CHARLOTTE — There are worse things in life than being a second-round pick in the NFL draft. Of course, that’s not necessarily what kids dream of. Take Carolina Panthers defensive end Kawann Short, for example.

After surviving the rough streets of East Chicago, he wound up at Purdue, where he improved his draft prospects during each of his four seasons. But the first day of the 2013 draft came and went without Short hearing his name. So Wednesday, when he was named the NFC’s Defensive Player of the Week, Short was again asked about his old wound. Were you disappointed you weren’t a first-round pick?

“Of course. Everybody wanted to go first round. Everybody wanted to be that No. 1 pick,” Short said. “But these are the cards you dealt with. It’s just the resume that you built.”

And according to NFL.com, a major part of Short’s resume was:

“Frame is out of proportion, as he has thin legs and holds extra weight in the middle of his body. Needs to find the ball consistently, regularly gets fooled by misdirection … Play-to-play effort is questionable; stands around to watch the play too often, especially when tired or playing against better talent.”

Wonder what Russell Wilson would say about Short’s disproportionate frame and effort?

Short sacked the Seahawks’ quarterback twice last Sunday. Each came on pivotal third downs that forced Seattle to punt. His stat-sheet stuffing line of two sacks, five tackles and a pass defensed made Short the first defensive tackle in Panthers’ history to be named Player of the Week.

“(Wilson) was going to be the difference-maker in the game, and you just have to contain him, keep him in the pocket. Make him step up and scramble through the middle instead of outside,” Short said. “You had Ryan (Delaire), Wes (Horton), Kony (Ealy) and Mario (Addison) all those guys containing him inside, and it made it easier for my job when he stepped up right into my arms.”

–When quarterback Cam Newton led the Panthers on his ninth career game-winning drive Sunday in Seattle, he broke what had been an ugly o-fer. The Panthers were 0-27 when trailing by more than three points in the fourth quarter during the Newton/Ron Rivera era.

Down six to the Seahawks after the third quarter, the Panthers put together their biggest rally since they came back from eight down against Washington on Oct. 11, 2009.

Newton and Rivera also keep improving their record in close games. Sunday’s 27-23 win makes them 14-16-1 in games decided by seven or fewer points. That number was 2-14 after the Panthers lost a late lead at Buffalo in Week 2 of 2013.


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