But Meadows missed most of training camp with a shoulder injury, and although there was reportedly no structural damage, he decided to hang up his spikes as he expected the shoulder to continue to nag at him with soreness.
Meadows moved on with his life, starting up a home construction business back in Georgia, but has found that he just simply misses the game at age 32."Let's face it, I just love football," Meadows told ESPN.com on Wednesday. "I feel a lot better physically now than when I left the game and my weight is back up to about where it needs to be. You just don't know how much you miss it until it's gone from you."
Meadows will put his request for reinstatement in writing to the league office this week, and should have no problem getting back into the league. But where he will end up playing is up in the air. The Panthers still hold his rights, but have two very good players at the offensive tackle position. So team officials will have to decide whether Meadows holds enough value as a guard, a position he has also played, or simply as a veteran player who can provide depth -- or they can release him from his obligation to play in Carolina, allowing him to solicit offers from other clubs as a free agent.
The Panthers are expected to reach a decision in the next few days and are expected to have Meadows visit for a physical if their interest is still high.