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August 05, 2006

Former Panthers likely to stay former Panthers

For just a second, embrace the past. Remember it and salute it. Second’s up. Now, return to the present and do the only reasonable and rational thing you can with the past.

Let it go.

Stephen Davis, Ricky Proehl and Mark Fields aren’t coming back to the Panthers. No matter what the folks who call talk radio shows and live on the Internet lobby for, it just isn’t going to happen.

Davis, Proehl and Fields each made magnificent contributions to the Panthers. In the past. Each of the three is expressing some desire to play again.

But this is where the saneness of general manager Marty Hurney and coach John Fox comes in. They don’t live in the past. They’re looking at the future, and Proehl, Davis and Fields don’t fit in.

If George Seifert were still running the show, Fields, Proehl and Davis would be wearing Panthers uniforms. Heck, Wesley Walls would probably be working as the first-team tight end and Eric Davis would be ahead of Chris Gamble at cornerback. Hey, Tim McKyer looked pretty good playing racquetball at the Dowd YMCA a few weeks ago. Seifert would probably be chasing Jeff Mitchell’s RV through the Midwest about now and using his free hand to make repeated calls to Todd Steussie. And the Panthers would be on their way to a 1-15 season.

Seifert lived in the past in 2000 when he signed Eric Swann, Chuck Smith and Reggie White. They were great players in their prime, but their prime was long gone by the time they joined the Panthers. Sadly, it’s the same with Davis, Proehl and Fields.

Davis had nothing left as last season went on. If the Panthers thought he could bounce back, he never would have been crossed off the roster. Proehl contributed, but the Panthers upgraded by signing Keyshawn Johnson and they’ve got some young receivers on the cusp.

Of the golden trio, Proehl probably has the best chance of playing somewhere this year. It’s just unlikely to be with the Panthers unless Carolina has injury problems. He can be a nice situational player for a team that’s short on receivers. Right now, the Panthers are not.

It’s the same with Fields. He hasn’t played since 2004, when he made a triumphant return from a battle with Hodgkin’s disease. Even then, Fields wasn’t the same player he was in 2002. Fields has been through another round of cancer treatment and he isn’t getting any younger. The Panthers did get younger at linebacker, which is one of the deepest positions on the team.

If this were 2002 or 2003, having Davis, Fields and Proehl would make perfect sense. But this isn’t 2002 or 2003, and there’s no room for sentiment in a cold, hard business. Fox and Hurney realize that. It’s way past the time for everyone else to join the club.

Posted by Observer Sports on August 5, 2006 at 01:24 PM | Permalink


Yo, dipsh!t.

I've got a newsflash for ya. Get out of your freaking Chief Financial Officer's tan pants and blue shirt and understand something.

A fan-base is built on the history of a team. Stephen Davis, Ricky Proehl, Mark Fields, Wesley Walls, and Eric Davis are honored memories of the true fans of the Carolina Panthers.

The immortal Reggie White came to this team because he wanted to end his career as a Panther. To me, that says more about the heart and soul of the Panthers than anything.

Sorry, Pat, but I think Sam Mills and the rest of the legends of the Cats (young as the team may be), deserve more than a second of contemplation.

Get lost, jerk!

Posted by: LNBruno | Aug 5, 2006 3:37:02 PM

A fan base is built on winning. The stands began emptying in 2000 when the Panthers, led by Reggie White, Eric Swann, and Chuck Smith (for those two games), went from being a chic playoff pick to a 7-9 record, which set up the worst year in franchise history the next year.

Tradition has it's place. That's why there are numbers retired, a "ring of honor" for those like Sam Mills and Mike MacCormack, and that's why there is the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It's nice to remember the good parts of the past. That's part of the fun of football. But it's even better to win, which is why I concur with Yasinskas here. Hopefully we'll all be thanking John Fox and Marty Hurney in February.

Posted by: Matt | Aug 5, 2006 6:23:46 PM

hard to be mad at the truth

Posted by: master1shake | Aug 5, 2006 6:41:24 PM

i would like to see mark fields come back and just be a good back up and mentor to thomas davis.

Posted by: jake | Aug 5, 2006 8:00:19 PM

If Shelton is struggling, why not bring Davis back as a short yardage back? Just as long as that is all he is used for (with Foster and Williams getting most of the carries) I think he'd be fine. His salary for such a role would be much less than what he was scheduled to make when he got cut.

Posted by: Chris | Aug 6, 2006 11:06:43 AM

Hey! Do you hear that? That's Stephen Davis' knees grinding as he walks down the street! He's done. It's OVER.

Posted by: stinger | Aug 6, 2006 11:18:33 PM

LNBruno has to be the biggest moron I've come across in a while. Excellent blog Pat.

Posted by: Matt | Aug 7, 2006 3:09:45 AM

Here's a thought that would appease some people. We should bring back Ricky Proehl, Stephen Davis and Mark Fields ... AS POSITION COACHES!!! Who really gives a rat's ass about Jim Skipper, Richard Williamson has been coaching since dinosaurs roamed the earth and I could care less about Flajole, Frijole, whatever the hell his name is. All three players did a hell of a job playing their positions, why not bring them onto the staff to earn a ring that way?

Posted by: Shane | Aug 7, 2006 12:34:55 PM

Give me a break!

This article would have been pertinent WHEN WE CUT THEM! Everyone understands our dept hand our need to be younger and faster, and understands our letting them go. This is old news and we are ready for the season, not memory lane.

Posted by: pnthrs | Aug 7, 2006 12:39:17 PM

Yeah, Stephen Davis could do a great job showing the guys how to pat their feet and get tackled while waiting for a hole to open up. Those coaches that "no one gives a rats ass about" are the reason this team will win the Super Bowl this year so take your bandwagon fanship somewhere else.

Posted by: Matt | Aug 7, 2006 3:38:54 PM

The only thing I really disagree with is that Ricky Proehl would have been nice to have kept around. Every sports commentator in Charlotte is sold on Drew Carter as a viable option for the Panthers (too bad based on playing time the coaches really aren't).

Posted by: Michael | Aug 7, 2006 6:18:02 PM

You're calling me a bandwagon fan? Dude, kiss my ass. I've suffered through the Rae Carruth murder trial, Kerry Collin's alcohol addiction, squandered first round picks (Can someone say Biakabutuka?), botched trades (Who remembers the Sean Gilbert deal? One of those first-rounders the Redskins got from us got them the Saints' entire draft!) If I were a bandwagon fan, I wouldn't be up to speed on all the screw ups our franchise has made.

Anyway, before I was so rudely dubbed a bandwagon fan, I'm just saying our coaching staff could use some youth. Don't you think Ricky Proehl would be a great receiver coach? Come on, he was the best slot receiver to ever play the game! (and I say that because he spent most of his career in the slot). Also feel like Fields would have the same impact Sam Mills had as a coach. That's just my thoughts ...

One more thought. Matt I hope you get AIDS ...

Posted by: Shane | Aug 7, 2006 10:14:23 PM

Wow, I feel so hurt. You must be one of those internet tough guys. I'm saying that why get rid of some position coaches that are among the best for no reason?

Posted by: Matt | Aug 7, 2006 11:01:42 PM

Dude, first of all, you're the one who started the drama with your "bandwagon" assumption. Just because I have my own opinion about something doesn't mean you have to come around with disrespect me with slander when you don't know how long I've been a fan.

So what if I think we could use some youthful exuberence in our coaching staff? I mean, come on. Matt McCoy is doing a hell of a job and he seems pretty young.

If not this year, then at least somewhere down the line, I'd like to see the Panthers at least CONSIDER bringing Proehl or Fields in for an opportunity.

Posted by: Shane | Aug 8, 2006 5:12:32 PM

agreed with this remark:
"This article would have been pertinent WHEN WE CUT THEM!"
And stop with the Seifert bagging. Pat, it's ridiculous to criticize him for going and getting aging talent in 2000 and suggest that's anywhere near what happened in the 2001 season - the year we got younger than we ever were. Seifert made his share of mistakes, and if you can't at least get the two seasons' ideals straight in your head, you're not the one to criticize him.
Not to mention you could've very easily made the point to the few hanging onto Davis or Proehl by relating it to something actually relevant today.

Posted by: Chris | Aug 11, 2006 8:33:24 AM

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