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Strickly Panthers: Davis battling back

Posted Jun 15, 2012

CHARLOTTE - Even though Thomas Davis didn't run alongside fellow linebacker Jon Beason during team drills at Panthers' minicamp, the camp and the entire nine-week offseason program still helped Davis get up to speed for training camp and beyond.

"The biggest challenge has been standing on the sideline, watching everyone else practice," Davis said. "That's the hardest thing because I want to be out there competing with those guys, but unfortunately I'm not able to right now.

"But I have a much better grasp of the defense from sitting in meetings and watching these guys come out and perform their reps and put the things in play that we've learned in the classroom."

Davis, rehabbing from his third major right knee injury in less than two years, plans to be right there with Beason when training camp kicks off in late July. Beason took the latest step in his recovery from a left Achilles tear by taking part in team drills as the Panthers completed their offseason program.

"Seeing Beas coming back got me excited for him," Davis said. "I know how much it means for him to be out here with the rest of the guys, and Beas knows how I feel.

"I had definitely hoped to do more, but we're going to wait till training camp. I'll be fine, ready to go. I'm pretty much there right now; we're just taking precautions."

Beason, after fully participating in the first two days of the three-day minicamp, took it easy during the public practice at Bank of America Stadium that wrapped things up Thursday.

"I'll be full-go, no limitations getting ready for our first preseason game and our opener," Beason said. "Getting in football shape is hard to do, so I feel like I've got to push it harder because I've been standing around. I feel like the other guys have an edge on me, so I'll go home and double up. I'll be on the field at 6 a.m., as usual."

Panthers head coach Ron Rivera has no doubts that Beason and Davis will do everything in their power to be reunited on the field come the regular season.

"We saw the culmination for Jon Beason with him being able to get on the field, so I'm excited about that," Rivera said. "I wish Thomas had the opportunity to do that for us now, but the nice thing is that we've watched him go through the walkthrough stuff and installation, and he's moving around very well and working hard at it.

"It would be a huge plus to be able to get him back as well and have that linebacking group as a whole, as opposed to last year when it was bits and pieces."

Rivera said that defensive tackle Ron Edwards, who didn't play last season because of a torn triceps muscle, is fully recovered but was limited throughout offseason workouts by a hamstring injury.


GREEN DAY: Thursday's guest list at practice included a famous father in Darrell Green, the Hall of Fame dad of Panthers wide receiver Jared Green.

His presence brought back memories for Rivera – not necessarily good ones.

"I told Darrell," Rivera said, "'The last time I saw you, you were streaking through the end zone, scoring a touchdown on a punt return that knocked us out of the playoffs.'"

In the 1987 NFC Divisional Playoffs, Green buried the Chicago Bears on their home field with a 52-yard punt return for a touchdown, a famous play in NFL lore in which Green tore rib cartilage while leapfrogging a would-be tackler but kept on running.

Rivera was the upback on the punt, which was booted by Tommy Barnhardt, the Panthers' punter in their inaugural season of 1995.

While the elder Green was a first-round draft pick in 1983 out of Texas A&M-Kingsville, his son was signed by the Panthers as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Southern.

"Great bloodlines," Rivera said. "He understands the game. He's been around it most of his life. He's got an opportunity."


TRADGEY HITS HOME: Panthers quarterback Cam Newton said he knew the two Auburn football players who were among the three men who lost their lives in a shooting near campus June 9.

Offensive lineman Ed Christian and fullback Ladarious Phillips were among the victims.

"They were freshmen when I was there," said Newton, who won the Heisman Trophy and the national championship during his one season at Auburn in 2010. "My heart goes out to the families that lost their son, their brother, their nephew – it's disheartening to even think about it. That's very uncharacteristic of Auburn. It's a very safe place."