Manning the Hot Corner

PantherInsider.com writer Chad Underwood was able to corral the boisterous Cornerback and ask him a few questions recently about his life, The Panthers, and Rams Receiver Torry Holt...

Chad: You founded the Manning Educational Foundation, which provides underprivileged youth with special education programs and activities... The Foundation's efforts are currently focused in Fresno, CA... any plans to expand the foundation to the Charlotte area? Why and how did you start the foundation?

Ricky: I wanted a way to give back to the community in which I came from, and the first thing I thought of is to help the youth succeed, by simply giving them the information I wish I knew when I was younger. The activities in my program you don't usually get at school and for some at home neither. It provides real life learning and situations and I am so excited about it because me and my team have a lot to teach the youth. I plan on starting it in the hometown in which I grew up in Fresno, CA then eventually expanding to the Carolina's, we are trying to do it big, so we need all the support we can get. Bottom line is "the kids win".

Chad: You were drafted in the 22nd round by the Minnesota Twins and played three summers of minor league baseball... Is football your favorite sport to play? Do you have any plans on resurrecting your baseball career?

Ricky: I did play for the Twins minor league for 4yrs, and use to love the game, but playing everyday in small cities in front of maybe 1,000 fans did not compare to playing in the Rose Bowl in front of 90,000 die hard fans. This is truly the best sport in the world, so I don't think I will be picking the metal cleats up anymore. I might go to the batting cage from time to time in the off-season.

Chad: You were a History Major at UCLA... what was your favorite time period of history?

Ricky: My favorite culture to learn was the Latin American history, and that was just because I got better grades in those classes, and it kept me interested.

Chad: Did Torry Holt talk trash to you during the Playoff game last season, or were you the one doing the trash talking?

Ricky: Torry Holt and I didn't do any trash talking, he is a cool dude, in fact I chilled with him in LA at the NBA all-star game and he was giving me props and congrads.

Chad: In the NFL, or any other sport for that matter, the players seem to be getting bigger, faster, and stronger each year. Your size has always been a topic of discussion. How much of a challenge was it to overcome the height disadvantage?

Ricky: Its not really a challenge to me, I have always knew that I can play in this league; I just have to prove to everyone else that I can. The time will come when I will be saying "told you so" to a lot of people.

Chad: You had a tremendous post season last year, coming up huge for us in the Eagles game. Who expects more of you this season, yourself or the fans? Is that added pressure a distraction in any way?

Ricky: Everyone's expectations of me have increased especially my own, no pressure at all, its just time to step it. Let's go.

Chad: Ray Lewis is the leader of the Ravens in the locker room, and even on the field. Who would you say the Panthers leader is?

Ricky: Buckner, Rucker and Minter along with other guys lead our team; there isn't a one man show. We got leaders left and right, and that's what makes us "US".

Chad: When you were growing up, what team did you always dream of playing for? Who were your biggest influences in your life on and off the field?

Ricky: I was a Raider growing up. My father had a big influence on what I did when I was growing up. On and off the field he influenced my discipline and it probably was the biggest reason for my success.

Chad: If you could have any other job in the world besides playing football, what would it be and why?

Ricky: I would be a movie star no doubt.

Chad: When you are in Charlotte, what is your favorite place to eat, hang out?

Ricky: I like Tavern on the Tracks, that's the spot, I go to the Varga Lounge every once in a while.

Chad: If you could order up a meal from anywhere in the world, where would it be from and what would it be?

Ricky: I am not to picky with my food, so I have no idea.

Chad: Since being in the NFL, who has been the hardest guy to cover and why? Who was the hardest to cover in college and why?

Ricky: Besides Steve Smith, Marvin Harrison was pretty hard to cover he is just so fast. In college I faced a lot of good receivers in the Pac 10 choose any of them, not an easy job.

Chad: If you could go one on one with any receiver, past or present, who would it be and why?

Ricky: I want TO; because he's on the schedule and I think a large part of that reason is because of me, so bring it on!

Chad: When it's all said and done, what do you want the fans to remember about #24?

Ricky: I want to be remembered as one of the toughest corners to play this game.


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