Davis Remains With Panthers

Initially in the draft process, former Pitt offensive lineman C.J. Davis believed he might not have to change his address, but he settled for keeping the same team nickname.

As things played out during the NFL Draft late Sunday, it turned out that C.J. Davis wasn't staying in Pittsburgh with his hometown Steelers. However, he eventually signed a free-agent contract with the Carolina Panthers.

"I talked to the Steelers right before their sixth pick was coming up, and ... I also talked to the Dolphins,'' Davis said. "They were talking about taking me. After the sixth round, though, I was ready to become a free agent. Then, you have a little better pick where you want to go.

"Carolina talked to my agent earlier in the draft on the second day, and then I talked to them toward the end. And they said they wanted to sign me as a free agent. So, that's the way we went. It's too bad it didn't work out with the Steelers, but I'm happy to be going to Carolina right now.''

The Steelers drafted center A.Q. Shipley from Penn State in the seventh round, so that made Davis expendable. However, Carolina is attempting to rebuild its offensive line with young players. The Panthers took former Pitt player Jeff Otah in the first round last season, and they took another tackle -- Duke Robinson from Oklahoma -- in the fifth round this year.

Along with Davis, an offensive guard-center, Carolina signed center Keith Gray from Connecticut, tackles Patrick Brown from Central Florida, Gerald Cadogan from Penn State and Garry Williams from Kentucky.

"My agent told me that the Panthers don't have a lot of depth in the interior spots, so that's beneficial for my situation there,'' Davis said. "They only drafted one guard, but they're looking for players to come in and be swing men to play different positions.

"And they want guys to compete for playing time at backup spots. So, I feel like I'm in a position, basically, like I've been in my whole career. So, I'm really comfortable with this. I've really got nothing to lose. I'm going to go in there and work really hard, and we'll see how things go.''

Carolina has 15 offensive linemen on its spring roster, and the majority are young players. So, Davis should have a fair shot to crack the depth chart.

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