Jon Beason takes the lead in Carolina

The Panthers called on rookie linebacker Jon Beason to lead the defense last season, and he was more than up to the challenge, writes Pat Yasinskas.

Originally Published: September 2, 2008
By Pat Yasinskas | ESPN.com

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- From his vantage point on the sideline in the middle of last season, Jake Delhomme examined the Carolina Panthers' defense.

It didn't take the injured quarterback long to come to a conclusion.

"We needed a leader on defense," Delhomme said. "Jon Beason had to be that leader."

A rookie who missed the first eight days of training camp in a contract holdout, Beason might have seemed like an unlikely candidate to be a leader. He opened the ...

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