Just a quick couple of thoughts as every NFL team in the country continues its flurry of phone calls as rosters are assembled:
-- I liked Jerry Richardson's letter that was posted on Panthers.com and in our newspaper in a full-page ad and can also be read here. Richardson has taken on more of a public role these past few months, which is a very good thing for a team that needs leadership and to regain its mojo. The part of the letter I liked the best was this:
"As we saw last year with Green Bay and Pittsburgh, market size does not determine where the Lombardi Trophy lands. Our mission is to bring it to the Carolinas.
"You have my assurance we will make the necessary investments and aggressively pursue every avenue to make that dream come true.
"While our division remains one of the toughest in the NFL, I am excited about the upcoming season. The experience gained by our young players a year ago should pay dividends. With Jordan Gross and Ryan Kalil as anchors, the offensive line can be one of the best in the League. Another Pro Bowl player, linebacker Jon Beason, is the centerpiece of the defense.
"Our new head coach, Ron Rivera, brings a history of success as a player and coach to the Carolinas. With coordinators Rob Chudzinski on offense and Sean McDermott on defense, Coach Rivera has put together an enthusiastic staff that will feature an attacking style of play on both sides of the ball. Add No. 1 choice Cam Newton, and one of the most intriguing draft classes in team history, and this has the potential for a most exciting season.
"I have learned timetables can be tricky (SIDE NOTE -- this is an apparent reference to Richardson first predicting the Panthers would win a Super Bowl in their first 10 years), but I can promise we will continue to make a total commitment to building the championship team you deserve."
2) My column today focuses on the first five "big-ticket" things the Panthers need to do now that the lockout is over. If you haven't read it, it can be found here.
3) In the "for what it's worth" department: Sports Illustrated's Peter King predicts that DeAngelo Williams will end up signing with Miami, but that Charles Johnson will end up re-signing with the Panthers.