Originally created 03/18/03

Four offensive additions, Panthers still want more



CHARLOTTE, N.C -- The Carolina Panthers added their fourth new face to the offense Monday, signing free agent wide receiver Ricky Proehl to a three-year deal.

He was introduced alongside new running back Stephen Davis, who signed a five-year contract Friday. They join quarterback Jake Delhomme and lineman Doug Brzezinski as offseason additions to the offense.

"It's a great organization that is headed in the right direction," said Proehl, who spent the past five seasons with the St. Louis Rams. "They made a lot of improvements last year defensively and now they are turning their attention offensively.

"If we can make half the changes offensively that they made defensively, I think we're going to be a good team."

The Panthers aren't stopping there, either.

General Manager Marty Hurney said they've made an offer to Tennessee receiver Kevin Dyson and they also want to meet with defensive back Jason Sehorn, who played under Panthers' coach John Fox with the New York Giants and was released last week.

So far, all of Carolina's attention has been on the offense, which finished next-to-last in the league last season in total yards and third from the bottom in points scored.

The hope is that the additions plus the draft will work the same way it did for the Panthers' defense last season.

Carolina was 31st in overall defense in 2001 when the team set an NFL-record with 15-straight losses in a season, but rebounded to rank second last year.

Davis will be the center of the offense, giving Carolina the durable running back Fox said he coveted the day he was hired.

"I do want to run the football," Fox emphasized Monday. "We do need a feature back, a guy who runs 25 to 30 times a game."

Davis was that from 1999 to 2001 with the Washington Redskins, averaging 326 carries a season. But he was bothered by a shoulder injury last year and in new coach Steve Spurrier's offense, he managed just 820 yards and seven touchdowns.

Davis said he's healthy enough to carry the load.

"I'm fine, the shoulder is fine and I've worked out hard during the off-season," he said. "My thing is to go out and play like I'm an iron man."

Davis gives the Panthers immediate insurance for DeShaun Foster, last year's second-round pick who missed the entire season with a knee injury.

Foster showed tremendous potential in the preseason, and the Panthers thought he was going to be their back of the future. Should his return be slowed or his career off-track, Carolina now has Davis.