CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA – Thomas Davis returns to practice, Greg Olsen is limited, and Graham Gano’s legend lands on a t-shirt. Wednesday’s Panthers news and notes.
DAVIS BACK IN THE MIX
Linebacker Thomas Davis missed the first four games of the season serving a suspension for a positive test for performance enhancing substances. He was not allowed on the property for the first five weeks of the season, thanks to a week four bye.
Davis missed being around his teammates, however, his personal pain was much worse. Davis’ father passed away, and his mother endured a pair of emergency surgeries.
He went through the difficult time of his own family, longing for the comfort and reassurance he would normally have from his football family.
“To be able to go out there and practice, it kinda takes you away from some of the things you have going on in your life,” Davis told reporters Wednesday. “Definitely felt good to be back out there.”
Head coach Ron Rivera said on Monday, that Davis would be on a “pitch count,” as they work him back into the mix. No doubt, Davis will be lobbying for a high number on the counter.
OLSEN LIMITED, BUT PRACTICING
Officially, Greg Olsen was limited in practice on Wednesday, but he was running routes, and catching passes on a soggy field.
The Panthers are hopeful that he will be ready to go this Sunday in Washington, after missing most of the opening four games of the season. Olsen was injured in the opener against Dallas, when he re-fractured the bone in his foot that cost him half of the 2017 campaign.
“I’ve missed more practice in the last 12 months than I have in a long time,” a smiling Olsen told reporters Wednesday. “It feels good to be back out there. You realize how much you still enjoy it. You still realize how fun it is to prepare for another game, prepare for a team, be out there with the guys.”
While Olsen was all smiles, quarterback Cam Newton was all business when it comes to his tight end.
“The band’s back,” Newton happily proclaimed, but then hinted he would be turning to a higher authority to keep Olsen on the field with him.
“When I’m saying my own prayers, now I am going be saying a prayer for Greg, too, because he can’t go out (injured) anymore. (Olsen) means a lot to our team, just as much as TD (Thomas Davis) means to the defense.”
Rivera cautioned that he and the team trainers will see how Olsen is feeling Thursday, after stressing the injury on Wednesday. No official determination for Olsen has been made for Sunday.
GANO GETS A T-SHIRT
Kicker Graham Gano was named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week on Wednesday, following his four field goal performance against the New York Giants.
Gano’s 63-yard boot in the waning moments lifted the Panthers to a 33-31 win, and a 3-1 overall record.
The winning kick highlight has been played repeatedly since Sunday, with the Spanish broadcast version getting the most run. Panthers Spanish broadcasters Jaime Moreno and Luis Moreno, Jr. have made headlines for the celebratory calls of Panthers games in the past, but the “Gano lo Gano!” call found its way onto a t-shirt worn by Newton, Rivera, and punter Michael Palardy.
Gano was humbled by the attention, telling reporters the text messages on his phone after the kick skyrocketed to 270 text messages, which he whittled down with replies. It then shot back up to over 370. He intends to return each and every one of them.
As for the shirt? He isn’t sold.
“It’s awesome, but I don’t think I could wear a shirt with my name on it like that.”