San Francisco

The Carolina Panthers have become famous for handing footballs to kids in the stands after touchdowns.

Linebacker Luke Kuechly experienced a twist on the phenomena during the NFC championship game, when a fan fell out of the stands right in front of him.

The fan eventually was helped back into the stands.

``I felt so bad for that guy,’’ Kuechly said Thursday. ``He was so excited and I’m running and I saw him fall out. His face was priceless. Wish we could have taken a picture of it. The face he made was, `I’m in pain, in shock - what am I doing here?’ ‘’

The Panthers took Kuechly with the ninth pick in the 2012 draft, out of Boston College. He has become a star who covers a remarkable among of ground. He’s a physical player who is listed at 6-3, 240 pounds. And he realizes he’s not anywhere near as big or fast as his quarterback.

Cam Newton is 6-5, 248. It’s remarkable that even among large, elite athletes, Newton’s size and speed astonish.

``You just see him walking around and you’re like, `No way he’s that big, not a quarterback,’ ‘’ Kuechly said. ``The guy is huge.’’

-Reminder: The Vikings tried to trade up to take Johnny Manziel. Which might have gotten Rick Spielman fired.

-Former Viking Jared Allen bought expensive cowboy boots for all of the Panthers’ defensive linemen. I’ll have more on that tomorrow.

-Kevin Williams made it to a Super Bowl with the Seahawks. Allen made it with the Panthers. Shouldn’t the world have been gifted with the presence of Pat Williams at a Super Bowl media day?

``Oh, yeah,’’ Allen said. ``What a great guy. I didn’t understand anything he said for the first week after I met him.’’

-Up at MalePatternPodcasts.com: MalePatternPurple with Viking Update’s Tim Yotter on his conversation with Mike Zimmer and the Senior Bowl; The You Betcha Basketball Show with Jon Krawczynski; my conversation with Brad Johnson on SouhanUncensored and Roy Smalley’s Chin Music.

The next Russo-Souhan Show is 4 p.m. Tuesday at Tom Reid’s Hockey City Pub. Please stop by.

@Souhanstrib

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