My column for Thursday's paper is on Muhsin "Moose" Muhammad, the Panthers' all-time leading receiver in almost every category.
There were a few quotes from Moose's meeting with the press Wednesday that didn't make it into my column but I thought you might like to hear. First of all, he says he doesn't regret going to Chicago in 2005, when he left the Panthers after nine years.
"It was a great experience," Muhammad said. "A learning experience. This is a volatile business. You never know where you’re going to be year to year. I thought I made the best decision at the time for my family and myself… We had a Super Bowl run up there [Moose has played on two teams that lost Super Bowls -- one in Chicago, one in Carolina). But I missed playing with Jake and with Smitty."
This will be the last game Steve Smith has to sit out in 2008 due to his two-game suspension for breaking Ken Lucas's nose, and Muhammad was honest about Smith's impact. "Steve makes a lot of big plays for us," Muhammad said. "He takes a short wide receiver screen and goes 70 or 80 yards."
Muhammad admitted no other Panther wide receiver likely had the speed to do that, but: "Guys are still catching balls," he said. "We have running backs making big runs and wide receivers making the plays they are supposed to make."
Moose also praised D.J. Hackett and Dwayne Jarrett for big catches over the middle last week against San Diego -- Hackett's went for 37 yards and Jarrett's 25. He said Smith might have taken both of those "to the house," however.
As for his former teammate Devin Hester, the Bears' dangerous receiver and return man, Muhammad said the best strategy was simple: Keep the ball away from him as much as possible.