A couple of notes as we start another week with the Panthers looking promising after their exhibition win Saturday night:
-- My column for Monday's newspaper, which can be seen here, talks about the energy on the field and in the stadium Saturday night. It was such a rare thing, that sort of energy, in 2010. Nice to see.
-- Along with a reporter from a Raleigh TV station, I conducted an impromptu question-and-answer session with New York Giants defensive tackle Marvin Austin following the game. Austin, who used to play for UNC, is a central figure in the school's NCAA investigation. You can find that here.
-- John Kasay's thank-you letter to fans, which I shared in a column last week after Kasay entrusted it to me to do so, had an incredible response. It's up to more than 1,100 "Likes" on Facebook, which is far more than any other story I've written. I know that's not a bit because of me. I believe it's partly because more people are on Facebook now but mainly because Kasay's gesture was so touching and so rare among today's professional athletes. If you missed that column, here's the link.
-- Finally, I promised a winner in the "half-penny contest" from last week. I had found a penny neatly cut in half on the Panthers' practice fields in Wofford and asked readers to theorize on what that meant.
I got a lot of funny responses, and they're worth a second to look at if you have time. (I think the real answer, that the penny was cut by a sharp lawnmower blade, was probably accurately portrayed by several readers as well).
In a close call, though, I'm going to actually give two copies of the book away. The first goes to the very first respondent (he's "anonymous," so he'll have to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org) the prize of a signed copy of my book about the Panthers' Super Bowl run.
That reader quipped of the half-penny: "I think that's left over from the Fox lame duck year. Whenever he tried to put his 2 cents in, Richardson said no and gave him his change back."
The second goes to the "Renfrows," who wrote: "I knew Rivera was looking for a nickelback, but this just makes no cents."