Rookie Q&A: Ware Wiggles into Linebacker Mix

For rookie LB Sean Ware, the choice to sign with the Carolina Panthers was an easy one. The battle for a roster spot? That's far more difficult. Ware talks to about his college experiences and his ongoing professional progress.

Sean Ware established himself as a versatile tackling machine at the University of New Hampshire. After missing the 2007 season with a knee injury, he bounced back to post 185 total tackles, 14.5 TFLs and two forced fumbles over the next two years.

Ware is working hard this offseason to win a spot in a linebacker corps that's been shaken up by injuries and a youth movement. In between workouts, he took the time to chat with

LaShana Marshburn: What were you doing during the NFL Draft?

Sean Ware: Me and my agent attended the draft in New York.

LM: Why did you choose to sign with Carolina?

SW: I had previous contact with my linebackers coach and their organization. They reached out the most and they actually considered drafting me, so I chose Carolina because I was more familiar with the system and whatnot. Coach [Richard] Smith worked me out for about two hours and then after that I had a phone conversation with him. That basically made it a done deal for me.

LM: How much research did you do on the Panthers before making your choice?

SW: I did some research. When I met Coach Smith he went over what the roster was going to be like in my position; the other teams that reached out to me, I didn't know what their situation was. Also, Carolina's area scout said I had a good chance to make the team, so it felt like a good fit. So far, I feel the same way. Being a rookie is not easy but right now I still feel confident about my chances of being here.

LM: You missed the entire '07 season with a knee injury. Does that make your journey even more meaningful, knowing you worked your way back to the point where NFL scouts took notice?

SW: It feels good. Sometimes once you get injured it's a wrap, but it just feels good [to make it to the NFL].

LM: How did the program at New Hampshire prepare you for the Big Leagues?

SW: My coach [Sean McDonnell] always had a vision of us winning. The program does a good job of preparing its players for what's next, whether that be football or real life. It's kind of like nothing has changed. It's just playing football.

LM: What are you looking to improve upon before training camp?

SW: I just have to pick up the tempo a little bit better. I have to clean up some of my mistakes and continue to do what I do and everything else will follow through, if the ability is there.

  LM: Have any of Carolina's veterans taken you under their wings?

SW: Oh, yeah. I hang out with a lot of rookies now, but there are veteran guys that I meet up with, hang out and talk to at practice. They look out for me. Guys like Jon Beason and Thomas Davis, who just suffered an injury. If I have questions I ask them. All those guys are great. Even guys from other positions. The defense is a real close-knit group.

To get an inside scouting report on Ware courtesy of UNH defensive coordinator Sean McGowan, click here.

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