Good for Muhsin Muhammad.
Good for the “Moose” for exiting the NFL gracefully Thursday, as he retired as the Carolina Panthers’ all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards.
It could have ended in a different, nastier way – with Muhammad, 37, catching on with another NFL team as a backup receiver and trying to squeeze another year out of his body.
Instead, Muhammad realized it was time for him to go. The Panthers didn’t re-sign him this offseason, and no other teams were jumping through hoops to grab him, either. So Muhammad decided, in his own words: “I would walk away from the game on my own terms, while I still could, instead of crawling away later.”
Moose called his time with the Panthers "a great ride."
The Panthers were obviously grateful that the relationship ended amicably, and in return they staged one of the more elaborate retirement ceremonies in their history.
Team owner Jerry Richardson, head coach John Fox and former Panther quarterback Steve Beuerlein all spoke. A “greatest hits” Muhammad video was played, with his 85-yard, Super Bowl-record touchdown catch front and center.
And then Muhammad himself talked for 26 minutes, thanking everybody from God to his Pop Warner coach, from the guy who taped his ankles every day to Greg “Catman” Good, the Panther superfan who wore Muhammad’s No.87 jersey to games.
“For me, today is not a day of mourning,” Muhammad said. “It’s a day of celebration.”
And it mostly seemed that way. Muhammad was frequently funny during his retirement speech. Tears welled in his eyes only twice -- when he looked at his wife, Christa (with whom he has six kids) and when he looked at longtime teammate Steve Smith.
Muhammad said his post-football plans include working closely with a private equity firm he has founded and trying to do some sports broadcasting.