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Panthers Team Report: Davis Quietly Preparing For Redskins

Carolina's Stephen Davis has a huge game against his former Washington teammates this Sunday, but you wouldn't know that from his lack of visibility in the media. Davis has chosen to lay low and let his hurting ankle heal, while his current cohorts spout off for him.

"Stephen is so quiet," said quarterback Jake Delhomme. "I thought he was going to go last week. Stephen just goes about his business and works hard. I'm assuming he really wants to go, so we'll see. If he can't go, then I know [backup] DeShaun [Foster] is going to be chomping at the bit again."

Davis was hung out to dry last season because he didn't fit into Steve Spurrier's plans and cost too much to keep around. After being cut from the Redskins, Davis chose to move close to his hometown of Spartanburg, South Carolina and sign with the Panthers.

"This game means everything. He spent most of his career there," said defensive back Mike Minter. "Coming here in the situation that he did, I think it means a lot to him. We're going to go out there and do everything we can to make him feel good about this game."

The veteran back sat out last week's game due to the ankle injury, but still is second in the NFC in rushing with 992 yards and five touchdowns in just eight games. He is tallying 5.1 yards per carry on the year.

DeShaun Foster posted a lackluster effort in Davis' spot last week, running 22 times for 56 yards against the Bucs' rugged front. With the running game struggling, Delhomme was forced to answer the bell and beat Tampa Bay with his arm.

Delhomme took full advantage of his chance to shine, leading the Panthers on a game-winning drive which covered 78 yards in just 1:35. The signal caller completed the push with a five-yard strike to Steve Smith between three Tampa Bay defenders.

"That is our brand of football," said Delhomme. "It would be nice to run away with one, but week in and week out in this league, they are going to come down to the wire. We wish we could have put together a drive in the fourth quarter to extend our lead but we didn't do it. Give them credit. They are not the world champions for nothing. They don't quit either."

For the game, Delhomme completed 20-of-32 passes for 277 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Smith was Delhomme's favorite target with nine catches for 72 yards and a score, while veteran Ricky Proehl reeled in three balls for 133 yards and a touchdown.

Smith has become a fantasy football darling in the past five weeks, reeling in 39 balls for 514 yards and four touchdowns. Look for Delhomme to search out Smith in this contest as well.

UP NEXT: The Panthers hit the road to take on the NFC East-leading Dallas Cowboys next week.

Copyright 2003. Courtesy of SportsNetwork.

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