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Bruce Irvin's 'dog' mentality is what Panthers need to unleash

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Asked to describe his personality on the football field, Carolina Panthers outside linebacker Bruce Irvin didn’t hesitate: “Dog.”

Irvin then asked how many words he could use. Told two, he smiled and said, “Dog, Dog.”

It’s that dog that makes coach Ron Rivera believe the 31-year-old Irvin will help the Panthers (4-3) avoid a collapse following Sunday’s 51-13 spanking by the San Francisco 49ers. After a similar loss last season -- by 31 at Pittsburgh -- the Panthers lost seven in a row.

Irvin doesn’t let his past define him any more than Rivera wants the Panthers to let their past define them.