Comings and Goings

Name the Carolina Running back that spent his first 3 seasons as a Fullback totaling 815 yards rushing and 5 touchdowns over that span. It's not Nick Goings, it's Stephen Davis.

Davis started his career as a fullback for the Washington Redskins in 1996. It wasn't until 1999 that Davis started 14 out of 14 games he played, gaining 1405 yards and notching 17 touchdowns rushing.

Before 1999, Stephen Davis was best known as "that guy that was beat up by Michael Westbrook" to most of the fans in the NFL, but he quickly put that stigma behind him.

Prior to 2004, Nick Goings was known as "the guy who backs up Brad Hoover".

Not anymore.

It's easy to see the parallels between Goings and Davis. Both started their careers as Fullbacks, perhaps mis-cast and toiling for three seasons in a position that didn't allow them to live up to their full potential.

In the three previous years, Goings has gained a total of 454 yards on the ground and no touchdowns. His lone career touchdown came last year, receiving.

This season, Goings already has 4 TDs, and is trying to make the most of his opportunity.

To this date, Goings has carried the ball 80 times for 357 yards, averaging 4.5 yards per carry. If Goings were to reach 1,000 yards rushing this season, he'd need to average 129 yards a game for the next 5 games. Although unlikely, it is possible.

Goings made the Roster in 2001 as an undrafted Rookie out of Pittsburgh as a back-up Fullback and special teams player. John Fox definitely thinks highly of Nick. "He's excellent on special teams and he's smart and he's tough," Fox said. "He was actually listed as a fullback coming into the season, but he also catches the ball well out of the backfield. He brings a lot to the table. We put him at tailback and he came up big for us on Sunday."

With Davis having Microfracture surgery a few weeks ago, Goings may entice the Panthers to give him a decent contract extension in the offseason. Goings will be a free agent, and may garner some interest from teams looking for a tough-nosed running back that can both block oncoming pass rushers and catch out of the back field. The Panthers are high on DeShaun Foster, but having a player like Goings to change the pace and get tough yardage would be a nice weapon to have. The Panthers may choose to let Davis go, foreseeing his productive days behind him. Davis will be 31 in March and coming off of Microfracture surgery. Goings is 5 years younger, with much more tread left on his tires, and a bit cheaper as well.

The next 5 games are an audition for Goings to take his future by the reigns and create his own destiny. Stephen Davis did it when given the opportunity; can Nick Goings do the same?

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