Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 10/6/13
Panthers receiver Brandon LaFell told Muhsin Muhammad he had something special in store for him if LaFell got into the end zone in the Week 3 game against the Giants. Muhammad a Panthers wide receiver from 1996-2004 and 2008-2009 had just banged the ‘Keep Pounding’ drum before the home game when LaFell approached him. LaFell told the former Panther that if he caught a touchdown pass he’d do Muhammad’s famous ball-between-the-legs touchdown celebration. Sure enough LaFell did the celebration after hauling in a 20-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter. “I say imitation is the greatest form of flattery. I like the way Brandon plays” Muhammad said. The gesture was a reminder of the days of Muhammad and it was symbolic of what veteran receiver Steve Smith said at training camp this summer: For the first time since the 2003 trio of himself Muhammad and Ricky Proehl the Panthers have three talented wide recievers in Smith LaFell and Ted Ginn Jr. In 2003 Smith Muhammad and Proehl combined for 2336 receiving yards which made up 72.1 percent of Carolina’s receiving total. This year entering Sunday’s game at Arizona Smith LaFell and Ginn have hauled in 352 receiving yards good for 61 percent of the team’s total. But it’s not just the stats that make the group special Smith said. Having two receiving threats of that caliber around him for the first time in a decade makes everything easier on and off the field. “A lot of people at times think a supporting cast is about numbers or wins. But for me I look at it as far as guys you can depend on that you can count on that you bond with that you get along with” Smith said. “There are routes where I completely understand that I’m clearing out for Brandon LaFell or I’m attracting a safety to keep it open for Ted. And I don’t have a problem with that because also it’s done both ways. When you have that kind of relationship anything you do is for the betterment of the group. “Just the whole experience just going through it has been really fun. Those groups of men don’t always happen so when it does it’s pretty cool and special and fun.” The first group came together before the 2003 season when Proehl a 13-year veteran at the time signed with the team as a free agent. Smith was coming off his second season but his first as a trusted wide receiver under new coach John Fox and Muhammad was in his eighth year as the leader of the wide receiver group. Smith would turn in his first of seven career 1000-yard seasons with a 1110-yard year as Carolina went 11-5 before advancing to the Super Bowl. Quarterback Jake Delhomme found Muhammad 54 times that season for 837 yards and new weapon Proehl tallied 27 catches for 389 yards as the No. 3 receiver. “Everyone knew their role on the team” Muhammad said. “I could go get the deep balls Ricky could go catch deep balls but we knew Steve was our deep threat and home run hitter. Ricky was the slot guy who was going to work the middle and be a mismatch. And I was a big guy doing the blocking and doing play action passes and making some of the tough grabs across the middle. We all knew what was asked of us.” But that knowledge came after the two veterans had a talk with the younger Smith. “I think the biggest thing Moose and I did for Steve being so young as a receiver and wanting to learn he’s such a competitor – probably the most competitive football player I’ve ever been around – he wanted the ball every play” Proehl said. “And he’d get frustrated when he didn’t get it. We just had to teach him sit him down and say ‘Steve this is a good thing. When Moose and I are making plays this is going to open up opportunities for you.’” Though Proehl would stay on the team for two more seasons the three receivers wouldn’t play a full season together again. Smith broke his fibula in the first game of the 2004 season and the Panthers released Muhammad before the 2005 season over a contract dispute. The likes of Keyshawn Johnson Drew Carter Keary Colbert and Dwayne Jarrett all came through Carolina but never made a substantial impact alongside Smith.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Garoppolo remains 'long shot' to be traded

Report: Packers coaches upset with GM Ted Thompson

Rondo fined $25K for attempting to trip Crowder

Logan Morrison curses out umpire CB Bucknor mid at-bat

Raptors jab Bucks on Twitter after Game 4 victory

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: NBA GMs not hesitant to draft Lonzo Ball due to father LaVar

DeShone Kizer changes course, stands by Tom Brady-Cam Newton quote

Nick Saban doesn't offer much praise of team for 'adequate' spring game

Dennis Schroder admits Mike Budenholzer wants him to avoid trash talk

WATCH: Miguel Sano throws punch as benches clear in Twins-Tigers game

Glen Coffee making NFL comeback after four years in Army, seven years away from game

The 'It's not good to play the King' quiz

Best of Yardbarker: David Fizdale and the Grizzlies won't go down quietly

Three Up, Three Down: Home run hitters are heating up

The 'Even the Browns can't mess this one up' quiz

25 times Mother Nature disrupted sports

In some ways, Dan Rooney was just another NFL owner

Box Score 4/20: When Westbrook isn't enough

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The '♫Happy Birthday Simpsons. Simpsons, it's your birthday♫' quiz

White House championship visits over the years

Biggest needs in the draft for every NFL team

The 'Baseball has been very, very good to its players' quiz

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 'It's not good to play the King' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Home run hitters are heating up

The 'Even the Browns can't mess this one up' quiz

In some ways, Dan Rooney was just another NFL owner

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The '♫Happy Birthday Simpsons. Simpsons, it's your birthday♫' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: David Fizdale calls B.S.

Kris Bryant can become the next Derek Jeter — and more

The 'Baseball has been very, very good to its players' quiz

NHL youth movement: How the 2016-17 rookie class fared

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker