Panthers’ WR Muhsin Muhammad retires

The Carolina Panthers’ official website is reporting that receiver Muhsin Muhammad has announced his retirement. He’ll finish his career as the Panthers’ all-time leader in receptions with 696 and receiving yards at 9,255.

“Coaching Muhsin has been a pleasure,” said head coach John Fox. “He is the ultimate competitor, and you always knew he would give you everything he had. We shared some great moments, and his contributions were invaluable to the success we enjoyed. His receiving numbers reflect what kind of receiver he was, but he was also one of the best blocking wide outs to ever play in the NFL.”

“The first word that come comes to mind when you think about Muhsin is toughness,” said general manager Marty Hurney. “His competitiveness was contagious in our locker room. He was a dependable playmaker and a leader who brought very much to our team.”

I always felt that Muhammad was one of those players that never got his full due. He was a crafty receiver that always found ways to get past an opponent’s secondary, even during his final years when he had lost a step. He was the perfect complement to Steve Smith throughout the years (minus the three seasons Muhammad spent in Chicago obviously), and vice versa.

In other Carolina-related news, linebacker Thomas Davis is likely done for the year after he re-tore his right ACL during a recent OTA session. He tore the same ACL last November, but had been recovering ahead of schedule and was even recently timed at 4.47 in the forty-yard dash, which is excellent for a linebacker.

With Davis likely headed for IR, Jon Beason could slide over to the weak-side position with James Anderson starting on the strong-side. Panthers’ defensive coordinator Ron Meeks likes the action to flow towards the weak-side ‘backer, so Beason will get a ton of work this season. Either way, losing Davis was a huge blow to Carolina’s defense.

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Peppers signs franchise tender

The wait is finally over for the Panthers, as defensive end Julius Peppers will sign his tender on Wednesday according to the team’s official website. He’ll earn $16.683 million this season.

The Panthers could still try and trade him, but it’s doubtful that they find any suitors who will be willing to give up draft picks and long-term money. It’s more likely at this point that the Panthers sign Peppers to a long-term deal than trade him. Carolina wants to win now and with John Fox and GM Marty Hurney’s jobs seemingly on the line every year, draft picks for future years don’t help them in the present.

Peppers wanted to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme, but the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. The Panthers hired Ron Meeks to replace Mike Trgovac as defensive coordinator and while Meeks isn’t necessarily a scheming genius, Dwight Freeney excelled under him in Indianapolis so Peppers could thrive in Carolina’s new scheme.

It’ll be interesting to hear what Peppers says once he reports to training camp in a month. If he’s going to be bitter all season about the Panthers franchising him, then it’s going to be a long year. But if he shows up hell bent on having a great year so he could hit the market and prove his free agent worth, then maybe both he and the team can get what they want out of the situation.

Peppers doesn’t show for Panthers’ minicamp

As expected, Panthers’ defensive end Julius Peppers didn’t show for the start of Carolina’s three-day minicamp.

The stalemate continued Friday with the four-time Pro Bowl selection, who wants to play elsewhere. But the Panthers have placed the franchise tag on him, limiting his options in free agency.

Because Peppers has not signed Carolina’s one-year, $16.7 million tender, he can’t be fined for missing the mandatory minicamp.

General manager Marty Hurney says Friday he’s had several conversations with agent Carl Carey and they’ve been “all positive.”

Second-round pick Everette Brown of Florida State got more reps in Peppers’ absence

Peppers not showing up for minicamp is hardly a story, but it could be a telltale sign that he won’t show up for training camp, which would make headlines. Carolina hired Ron Meeks in January to replace Mike Trgovac as defensive coordinator, so one would think that Peppers would be in camp come July in order to learn the new scheme.

But while head coach John Fox doesn’t seem concerned about his star defensive end not attending camps until July, at least one Carolina believes that he’ll show up until after the padded work is complete.

It would be very Michael Strahan of Peppers if he did that.

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