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D'Onta Foreman hopes to "build on the trajectory"

D'Onta Foreman

CHARLOTTE – D'Onta Foreman hasn't been in this situation before.

This offseason won't be Foreman's first time hitting free agency, but it will be different this time. The 26-year-old running back added value as a potential starter in the NFL with his performance at Carolina after the Christian McCaffrey trade.

So now, he'll likely have some options to consider and decisions to make.

"There's definitely a difference, but it's tough," Foreman said when asked how this cycle compares to his previous offseasons. "I just leave it up in God's hands, honestly. I pray about it."

Foreman, who broke out in 2021 subbing for an injured Derrick Henry at Tennessee, has been in the league since 2017. But he found his footing as a featured running back in the Panthers' run-heavy offense under interim coach Steve Wilks.

This season, Foreman has put up career-best numbers in rushing yards (846), rushing touchdowns (five), yards per attempt (4.4), total games played (16), and starts (eight). He also set a new single-game career-high here with 165 rush yards against Detroit, adding to his season total of five games with at least 100.

Foreman said that consistent success is what he has been looking to find.

"It's a blessing," Foreman said. "Something that I dreamed about, something I always wanted, something that I worked hard to get to – putting myself in a position like this. I just hope it pays off well."

Because of the "blessing" he has watched unfold with the Panthers, Foreman is pretty sure he knows where he'd like to be next year.

And that's in Charlotte.

"It's not really my decision, but of course, I want to be here," Foreman said. "I would enjoy being with these guys, and (with) everything we started, to build on the trajectory we're on, I feel like it'd be great to be back."

Since the Texans drafted him in 2017, Foreman has bounced around four other rosters. He spent time on practice squads in Indianapolis (2019) and Atlanta (2021) and had two stints in Tennessee before landing here last March.

Now, Foreman said he feels connected to a place and a group of people. He said he feels comfortable with his teammates and behind the Panthers' sturdy offensive line and has watched their chemistry grow throughout the season.

"I've never been in a situation where I felt like I was at home and one of the guys, so I really don't want to give that up," Foreman said. "I'm trying to do everything that I possibly can to stay in the position and just make it better and continue to grow. I'm trying to find me a home, and be somewhere where I know they want me and where I want to be."

Foreman said he likes the situation he's in with the Panthers, both on the field and off. He said his relationships have grown this season, and he doesn't want to let them go.

Of course, he doesn't know what the future will hold. But he has set himself up to find a friendly opportunity somewhere.

"I hope the team feels the same way (about me that) I feel about the team," Foreman said. "We just make it work. I try not to think about it as much, but just being who I am and the nature of the business, it's hard not to.

"I'd love to be here, man. Everything's been trending in the right direction for me, and I'm happy where I'm at. I'd really (like) not having to go anywhere else."

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