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Thursday, April 23, 2009
Delhomme move a strong statement by Panthers

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

The Panthers just passed along some quotes from each of the main parties who made sure quarterback Jake Delhomme got a new five-year contract Thursday. We'll let the quotes speak for themselves first and then sum them up at the bottom of this post.

From general manager Marty Hurney: "We think very highly of Jake and the contributions he has made to the Carolina Panthers. He has been a leader on the field, is a talented quarterback, is a perfect fit for our team and was a big reason we were able to win the NFC South last year. He has also always represented the team in the highest manner and earned the respect of everyone throughout the organization."

From Delhomme: "One of the most important things in my football life was to finish my career as a Carolina Panther. Playing for Mr. Richardson, Marty Hurney, coach Fox, and my teammates has been a great experience and I am excited about the future."

From coach John Fox: "Jake is a most unselfish player. His first concern is about the team, which has earned him respect throughout the locker room."

All right, re-signing a quarterback who threw five interceptions in his last game might not be very popular with fans. But there are some merits to this move. Start with the loyalty to Delhomme from Fox and Hurney. It might be blind, to some people. But it's also admirable. Fox and Hurney are pretty straight shooters and they've stood by Delhomme all along.

Anybody think Derrick Brooks would have liked to be with a regime like this?

Also, Fox generally is a terrible quote. But I think the line about respect throughout the locker room is one of the most significant things he's ever said (in an interview, anyway). That's very true. There isn't a player in Carolina's locker room who is more respected than Delhomme. That has to count for something.

Also, the part from Delhomme about wanting to finish his career with the Panthers is very strong stuff. I know Delhomme well enough to know he means what he says. I also know him well enough to know he's a very determined and driven guy and he's going to do everything possible to erase memories of that playoff loss to Arizona.