NFL News of March 17, 2003

Location might be the first rule of real estate, but it’s only part of the equation when it comes to free agency in the NFL.

As the Carolina Panthers held a homecoming news conference to introduce Stephen Davis and Ricky Proehl on Monday, it was obvious that returning to the Carolinas wasn’t the only reason the running back and receiver signed with the Panthers.

“At this point in my career, it’s great that I’m home,” said Proehl, who went to Wake Forest and has a home in High Point. “But I want to go to an organization that’s committed to winning and trying to do everything possible to win football games. Signing (quarterback) Jake Delhomme and Stephen had a huge impact. I just feel strongly about this organization and where they’re headed.”

…”I think it’s an organization that’s headed in the direction it needs to head in,” said Proehl, who signed a three-year deal worth $3million. “They went from the 31st defense (in 2001) to the second defense in the league. You have to have a great defense to win championships in this league. Now, they’re turning in the direction offensively. If we can make half the improvement that they did defensively, we’re going to be a good football team.”

— Pat Yasinskas, The Charlotte Observer “Davis, Proehl bolster Panthers offense.”

Davis emerged as an NFL MVP finalist in the Panther’s 2003 NFC Championship, but was released after two more injury plagued season. He signed a one-day contract to retire as a Panther in 2008. Proehl also played for the Panthers from 2003 – 2005, returning briefly in 2006 as an injury replacement for the Colts.

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