Charles Johnson makes his voice heard


ATLANTA – Defensive end Charles Johnson will be the first to tell you he's not much of a talker.

But he picks his spots. And when he does, he gets his teammates' attention in a hurry.

Following Sunday's 34-3 NFC South-clinching victory over the Atlanta Falcons, the celebration was well underway in the joyous Carolina locker room.

Head coach Ron Rivera gathered the team and shared his prideful message. He commended his players and was about to wrap up to allow the celebration to continue.

But Johnson had something to add. The 6-foot-2, 285-pound defensive – who had one of Carolina's season-high six sacks – stepped onto a table and raised his voice.

Johnson's message was short, but powerful. He told his teammates that in his eight seasons he's never won a playoff game. He pointed to his NFC South Champions hat and told them to enjoy wearing it. But he made it clear he wants everyone focused on what's next.

"I've been here too long. This is not the end. I don't want this to be the end," Johnson said afterward. "We are on a roll, and we need to keep it going."

Linebacker Thomas Davis is the only player on the roster who has won a playoff game as a Panther.

"That happened my rookie year in 2005," Davis said. "That was a long time ago. We understand that. We can't focus all of our energy on this win. We have work to do."

After falling to the San Francisco 49ers at home in the NFC Divisional Playoffs last season, Carolina has another opportunity to win a playoff game at home – this time against the Arizona Cardinals in the Wild Card round.

"He's dead on," tight end Greg Olsen said. "This is not our ultimate goal. This is just one of our goals. We still have a lot of work to do. We haven't won a home playoff game in a while. That has to be the next step for us."

Johnson reminded them of the work that lies ahead. And fellow veterans are glad he did.

"I'm glad he spoke up. He's one of the leaders of this team, and a lot of guys look up to him," center Ryan Kalil said. "It was a strong message and it came from the right guy."

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