Q & A with Carolina Panthers Guard Kitt O’Brien


Kitt O’Brien started his career as a graduate of Ball State. In college he was a key part of the team’s offensive line that only allowed 11 sacks, which was 12th lowest in the NCAA. He went on to go undrafted in 2013 and signed with the Arena League team, Cleveland Gladiators. Before that, he was invited to go to training camp with the New York Giants but did not sign. He played about 40 games while on the Gladiators, then on August 7, 2015, he was signed by the Indianapolis Colts. He was then in a cycle of being released and resigned for the rest of the season. He then signed with the Cleveland Browns on July 30, 2017, but was released early on in the season. After that, he took his talents to the newly formed AAF (Alliance of American Football) while in the league he would be apart of the Birmingham Iron. He would play for that team until the league would overall fold. Then on April 5, 2019, the Carolina Panthers offered O’Brien a one year contract which he would still be apart of till this day.


Q: You’ve gotten the opportunity to play professionally at a bunch of different stages, what has that been like?


A: It’s been amazing. I have developed so many skills and friendships from the different leagues I played in. It’s been extremely challenging at times because of the only thing in your control in your effort. But persistence is key. I learned that if I wasn’t constantly pushing for it, I wouldn’t be ready if the opportunity ever came


Q: AAF, a league that had just recently folded, in the short span of the league what was it like getting to play in it.


A: It may have been some of the most fun I’ve ever had playing football. Our O line in Birmingham meshed well. It was great too because no matter how much or where you had played before we were all rookies in that league and it made everyone check their ego at the door. If you wanted to be a big shot in that league you had to earn it one game at a time. It made for a great dynamic in the locker room.


Q: I’m assuming with getting to have a professional background you have gotten to be on teams with such great athletes like Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly. Who has had the biggest impact on you that you have played with?


A: Matt Paradis has been huge. He’s an all-pro center and has helped me develop the ability to diagnose a defense pre-snap. Playing against Luke in practice makes the game slow down because of his recognition and understanding of what an offense is trying to do, so I really need to know my rules and landmarks for every play.


Q: This year you were finally able to get a deal signed with the Panthers, do you remember what your reaction was to getting signed?


A: It was a true feeling of elation. It wasn’t exactly under terms I was hoping for ( due to my injury) but it is definitely setting me up for success in the upcoming years


Q: Is there anyone special in your life that lead to your success in the field?


A: Definitely my wife Sarah. She’s been with me through everything. Her unwavering support has given me the ability to keep chasing my dreams.


Q: Lastly, where do you want to see yourself in the next few years on and off the field?


A: I’d love to stay with Carolina as long as they’ll have me. I hope I can sign an extension here. Off the field I’m looking to get some land the I can hunt on and build a nice home and let my dogs run.