Teddy Bridgewater Using Past Experiences To Be a Better Leader and Person

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Through the first two weeks of Carolina Panthers Training Camp, many players have spoken highly about the leadership and professionalism that new quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has already brought to the young team.

That leadership didn't come easy for Bridgewater, who is expected to be a full-time starting quarterback for the first time since before he tore his ACL and suffered structural damage to his knee in 2016.

A lot of his teaching moments have come from his own struggles and experiences.

"That experience and things that I had gone through a couple years ago has helped me become a better man, a better teammate, a better football player," Bridgewater told reporters on Monday. "I'm thankful that it happened because who knows if I would have been the same man had itn ever happened."

One of the biggest teaching moments that Bridgewater has told his fellow quarterbacks and teammates so far this camp is to always stay ready.

As a backup to Drew Brees with the New Orleans Saints the last two years, Bridgewater didn't expect to receive many opportunites, but that changed in Week 2 of 2019 when Brees went down with an injury.

"I wasn't prepared," said Bridgewater, who went 17/30 for 165 yards. "I had my mind up that I was behind Drew Brees and I would never play. You can always talk the talk that you'd be ready but you never know until that opportunity presents itself. After that game I was embarrased. I had to hear it from my family and the fans and I told myself I never wanted to experience that again. My message to those guys (Will Grier and P.J. Walker) was just always stay ready.

It's only been a little over two weeks on the field, but those types of messages are what could lead the Panthers to success with Bridgewater at the helm.

After that game, Bridgewater led New Orleans to a 5-0 record in the five games he started with Brees out.

"He's a natural born leader," wide receiver Robby Anderson said. "Certain people, they walk into a room and people kind of move to their beat and he (Bridgewater) is a great football player and a great person."

A lot of that confidence for Bridgewater has come just within the last year.

"I had to revamp my process," Bridgewater said. "I had to learn that Drew Brees was Drew Brees for a reason. I truly had to find my identity...After that game I didn't prepare the way I thought I did, I told myself I have to find my own process and something that works for me. I've been able to do just that in the past year and it's been working for me."

Carolina held their first practice in pads on Monday and Bridgewater says he's just glad to have football back.

"There's nothing like being in-person and communicating with guys, feeding off their energy and seeing what motivates guys each and every day," Bridgewater said. "It's definitely starting to feel like football."