Wide receiver Brandon LaFell says he's ready for a bigger role with the Carolina Panthers.
And he'll get it this year.
LaFell enters his third season as the Panthers' No. 2 receiver and will start alongside five-time Pro Bowler Steve Smith.
LaFell started six games at the end of last year and played well but knows this is no time to relax. The Panthers (No. 20 in the AP Pro 32) have several receivers ready to push him for playing time. That includes newcomer Louis Murphy from the Oakland Raiders and David Gettis, who started ahead of LaFell two years ago before a knee injury sidelined him in 2011.
LaFell says his mentality this year is the same as his previous two seasons. But he knows ''every day I have to compete for my job.''