Panthers OT (and fan) Ikem Ekwonu was in attendance for 2016 NFC title game

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Carolina Panthers first-round draft pick Ikem Ekwonu doesn’t need to be told to “Keep Pounding.” He’s always done it.

On Thursday night, shortly after being selected with the sixth overall pick of the 2022 NFL draft, Ekwonu chatted with team media for the first time in his professional career. The Charlotte native and local Providence Day School and North Carolina State University product caught up on his roots, telling reporters that he’s been a fan of the franchise for quite some time.

“I actually had a Thomas Davis jersey growing up. And I actually met Thomas Davis this morning as well, so it’s kinda crazy how things line up,” he said. “I was at the NFC Championship game when they beat the Cardinals. I was right in the end zone. I’ve been to a couple games, I’ve been able to see the ups and downs of the team. And I’m just so fortunate to have the opportunity to have such an impact on the team’s legacy.”

That game saw the Panthers thump the visiting Arizona Cardinals, 49-15, back on Jan, 25, 2016 en route to their second ever Super Bowl appearance. And although that Carolina squad did not ultimately make the best out of that appearance, Ekwonu is sure he’ll try his damndest to help them get back there to finally complete the job.

“My biggest goal, obviously, is to win a Super Bowl ring, being a champion,” he said at the press conference table in Las Vegas. “I feel like that’s the pinnacle of the NFL and that’s a goal I wanna reach as well.”

Speaking of reaching—if Ickey’s seat was in the west end zone that night, maybe he could’ve reached out to help this dude . . .

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