His locker is not with the lockers of DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, Mike Tolbert and the other running backs. His locker is not tucked way in a corner with the offensive linemen, linebackers or kickers.He’s been with the Panthers less than a month. So what do they make him do – dress in his car?Ah, there he is. Crammed into what will become the player’s lounge during the season are 20 lockers, and one belongs to Whittaker.If the locker room is first class, the lounge is coach. When I enter the abyss and ask for Whittaker, the other residents begin to call his name. They act excited. If one of them is recognized for his work, perhaps they all will be.
Whittaker, 25, grew up in Pearland, Tex., and played at Texas. He talks the way he runs, with little flash and little fanfare. He finds a hole and he slips through it before anybody knows.“I just want to bring intensity no matter what it is, whether it’s running the ball, catching the ball, playing special teams, making tackles, returning kicks – it doesn’t matter,” Whittaker says in a rush. “What it is, I just want everybody to know that I’m playing 100 percent and it’s to help the team get a win.”
Says Newton: “To see him go out there and compete and running as hard as he did, man, it’s just a person showing resilience and being very optimistic about his opportunity. We had a great talk as an offense (Sunday) morning about what to expect from each other.