Lucas was the highest-rated cornerback on some teams' free agent rankings, and he's fairly young. "Our pro personnel department and coaching staff had him very highly rated, and so we expect big things out of him," Coach Fox said.">
Lucas was the highest-rated cornerback on some teams' free agent rankings, and he's fairly young. "Our pro personnel department and coaching staff had him very highly rated, and so we expect big things out of him," Coach Fox said.">

Lucas: "I'm highly motivated"

Although many casual fans don't recognize Lucas' name now, they will soon. "By playing out in Seattle," Lucas explained, "a lot of people didn't know about me, but I have a lot to prove and I'm highly motivated." <br><br> Lucas was the highest-rated cornerback on some teams' free agent rankings, and he's fairly young. "Our pro personnel department and coaching staff had him very highly rated, and so we expect big things out of him," Coach Fox said.

The Panthers got a little recruiting help in luring Ken Lucas to Carolina from another former Ole Miss player.

Kris Mangum.

"He called me, and he told me how great the city is and the team, too. That was just another reason for me to come here. His brother, John, who is a financial advisor, told me this is the place to be. I already knew I wanted to be here, though."

Kris has been with the Panthers since he was drafted in the 7th round of the 1997 draft. John Mangum, Jr. played defensive back for the Chicago Bears from 1990-98 and is seven-years older than Kris.

Lucas, who converted from Wide Receiver to Cornerback full time after his sophomore season at Mississippi, has developed into one of the better tackling cornerbacks in the NFL since being drafted by Seattle in the second round of the 2001 draft.

"I think I'm one of the more complete corners in the League," Lucas said. "I can press well. I can play off well. And I'm willing to tackle." Having a Cornerback that can tackle is monumental in a team that was one of the league's worst in 3rd down defense a year ago.

"You have a lot of corners who can cover well in this League who aren't willing to make tackles, or they can tackle but they can't play man-to-man defense. I can do a little bit of everything well."

Although many casual fans don't recognize Lucas' name now, they will soon. "By playing out in Seattle," Lucas explained, "a lot of people didn't know about me, but I have a lot to prove and I'm highly motivated."

Lucas was the highest-rated cornerback on some teams' free agent lists, and he's fairly young. "Our pro personnel department and coaching staff had him very highly rated, and so we expect big things out of him," Coach Fox told the media at the press conference for the Lucas and Wahle signings. General Manager Marty Hurney was beaming as the potential Lucas and Wahle bring to the team. "It's two guys who were at the top of our free agent board," Hurney said. "They're young, and we don't get to this end of the pool a lot but we felt like the opportunity was right to get both of these guys as far as being good fits and being our kind of people. Mike's going to be 28, and Ken is 26. They're two guys who we hope are here for a long time. These are two very important positions for us. You always get excited at this time of year. You have to wait and see how things work out, but we're very happy."

Perhaps his best attribute though, is Lucas' demeanor and his desire to lead by example.

"Hopefully, I can come here and help mentor the younger guys who haven't been in the League as long. I can teach them some of the things I have learned over my career," Lucas said. "It's the same as the situation I was in this past year. I was a four-year veteran, and all the other guys had two years or less of experience in Seattle. I don't know if the secondary here is that young but I look forward to being put in that situation where I can mentor the younger guys. I like helping other guys, because that helps the team. I look forward to it."

Even if Lucas is marginal, they've added a solid character guy in the locker room that wants to be here.

"I knew before I even got off the plane that I wanted to sign with Carolina."

Let's hope Lucas enjoys a long and productive stay in the Carolinas.

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