The Panthers returned to work on Monday after an unexpected weekend off. But, instead of preparing for their first home game, they're looking towards their second straight game on the road, in a dome. And, they may try a something different to get there.
The players say they used this weekend off to spend some time reflecting on the events of this past week. They have certainly left no one untouched, and among those involved in sports, have put a new perspective on the importance of what it is that we do.
There has been talk that the Panthers may choose to bus to Atlanta rather than fly. It's just under a four hour trip down I-85; it's not a fear of flying that has the organization thinking about the change, but simple logistics with all the increased security in airports.
Defensive end Chris Slade says, "if we have to bus it's (not far), either way we have to play football whether we fly or drive."
The league has already said that each player will be checked before boarding chartered flights as part of heightened security at upcoming games. Tight end Wesley Walls, for one, will not be distracted by security concerns this weekend.
"I don't want to enter my mind on the field. That's something that hopefully I can be assured of before I step into that stadium; that we're going to be safe…my family, whoever comes to the games. If I'm there, that means I'll feel pretty safe."
The Panthers were coming off one of, if not, their biggest win since they played Green Bay for the National Conference title in their second season. Some are concerned that any momentum the team built with that win in Minnesota has been lost, but, Slade disagrees.
"Everybody is going to be a little rusty initially this week. But, we're all on the same page, some teams are 1-0 others are 0-1 and that's the attitude you have to take."
But, there's not a sole that remains unchanged from a week ago. Perhaps, quarterback Chris Weinke, who lost his grandfather a couple of weeks ago, understands better than anyone else.
"You really realize how important family and friends are, you don't ever know how long they're going to be around. The bad part is that it sometimes takes something like this for a lot of us to realize that."