WR Trent Guy (Andy Lyons/Getty)
Rookie Trent Guy turned a stellar career as a receiver and return specialist at Louisville to a free agent pact with the Carolina Panthers. Now, as he shares in this exclusive interview, he strives to stay healthy and maximize his potential with his hometown team.
Trent Guy (5-foot-8, 171 pounds) began his football journey at West Charlotte HS (N.C.). It was there he started tracking the career of Steve Smith, another undersized receiver and return specialist.
It didn't take long for Smith to establish himself as one of the NFL's elite receivers. And now that he and Guy are teammates, the eager rookie is looking to pick Smith's brain and do anything possible to follow in his footsteps.
"I grew up a Carolina Panthers fan,” Guy said. “I'm from Charlotte, so I grew up watching them play. Coach [John] Fox was a great coach, along with some of the great players we had, players I had looked up to my whole life.
"Steve Smith, I've watched him play since I was young. This is a great opportunity for me to play with him, and in front of my family and friends."
The fact that Guy is still pursuing and NFL career is remarkable. In the summer of '08, he was shot following a dispute at a club in Louisville. He was rushed to the hospital and underwent surgery; he was back on the field only weeks later.
"I did a lot of rehabbing," Guy said. "I had to rehab and take some time off to get my body healed. I didn't stay out as long as I should have, but I sat out four weeks just trying to get my body back healthy and back used to playing football. Plus, I had to regain the weight I lost from being shot."
Guy was back for the 2008 season-opener, yet he missed three games that season and was limited in others while he struggled to fully recover from his summer ordeal.
He believes that, when healthy, he is a weapon on offense and special teams. He proved that during the 2009 season-finale, when he caught five passes for 107 yards and a touchdown against Rutgers.
"My injuries held me back from being the best player I could have been," he said. "I did a number of things that were pretty good in college, but I think because of my injuries, I didn't get to play as well as I would have liked. The main thing now is just staying healthy and going out each and every practice showing that I can play this game on this level."
One of the reasons Guy is confident he can succeed in the NFL is the tutoring he received from Louisville receivers coach Jeff Lewis. Lewis is a former NFL QB who backed up John Elway in Denver, so he knows what a well-run passing attack should look like.
Also, because he approached the game with a quarterback's mentality, Lewis expected his receivers to run the right routes at the right depth, and to catch every ball in their wheelhouse.
Lewis has been honest with Guy regarding what he must do to make an impact for the Panthers.
"I need to learn the offense as quickly as possible," Guy said. "On this level, you always have to know what to do. You have to know the checks and know what routes to run against which coverages. I need to keep learning the offense and playing with speed and coming out every day and working hard and trying to be the best player I can be."
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