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Carolina Panthers

Gettis feeling super


CHARLOTTE - The first time Panthers wide receiver David Gettis reached the end zone as an NFL player, he broke into a Superman pose.

The first time Panthers quarterback Cam Newton reached the end zone as an NFL player – nearly a year later – he broke into a Superman pose.

"It was a joke at first because people noticed it on the team, but I think he did it better, so I can't really complain," Gettis said. "All of a sudden when he starts doing it, everybody around the world starts doing it. That's fun to see for me as a fan of the game.

"He's the quarterback. He can do whatever he wants to do. It's his team, and I'm just happy to be a part of it."

Gettis can't wait to be even more a part of it. He had to watch Newton's remarkable rookie season in street clothes, the victim of a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee suffered during training camp.

Gettis recently declared himself "93 percent" back from the injury.

"Right now, I'm just trying to get my full strength back and then just try to get the bulk back in my leg," he said. "It's clearly there, but it's a little off, so I'm still working on strength, just trying to finish out the little parts to make me 100 percent.

"My job right now is to get healthy and not be just the same player but a better player than I was before I got hurt."

Gettis showed a lot of promise as a rookie in 2010, leading a Panthers offense that struggled with three receiving touchdowns while ranking among the top NFL rookie wide receivers with 37 receptions for 508 yards.

He was battling for the starting spot opposite Steve Smith during training camp last August when a routine play stopped him in his tracks.

"It was just a freak accident," Gettis said. "I was cutting to go one direction, got pushed, and I fell in other direction while my knee was planted.

"I got up and finished the play and didn't even think anything of it. I actually jogged back to the huddle, lined up and thought I was perfectly fine. I ran the next play, ran 10 yards and tried to cut, and it felt like my leg was about to fall apart."

Gettis said he was in disbelief when an MRI revealed that he had a torn ACL, and he struggled with the mental aspects of dealing with the first major injury of his football career.

He found support from teammates, however, and eventually found his way.

"The most difficult part of it is that I had to sit out the whole season, which I've never done, and obviously the rehabilitation was tough," Gettis said. "I felt so heartbroken that I couldn't be on the field, so I just watched games from a box. As much as you want to cheer on your teammates, your friends, and see them succeed, at the end of the day it was tough because I wanted to be out there so bad.

"Thomas Davis was a big help going through it, and Zack Williams got hurt around the same time, so we became friends through that, having something in common instantly. We all pushed each other, almost like a competition that at the end of the day made us all better."

Now Gettis is close to returning to the type of competition he most craves and the opportunity to celebrate a touchdown again – with or without Superman.

"I actually wear a Superman shirt under my uniform, but that's neither here nor there - it's not mine anymore," Gettis said, putting his Clark Kent-esque glasses on. "I'll have to break something new out."

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