Replacing Fields is not easy - on many levels

The team has several options in replacing Mark Fields, including moving first-round draft pick Thomas Davis over from strong safety to strong linebacker. But that is not likely to happen -- at least not right away.

The Panthers want Davis to get comfortable in the defense and they think he is most comfortable at strong safety. The Panthers signed free agent linebacker Chris Draft from Atlanta in free agency and he's expected to battle with Brandon Short, who backed up Fields last season, for the starting job.

The Panthers weren't quite ready to talk about filling Fields' spot so close after the announcement that his cancer has returned.

"Right now our concern is about Mark Fields the person, not the player," Hurney said. "Obviously our first thoughts go to Mark and his family. We will do everything we can to be supportive."

Panther fan Robert Wilson, Jr. summed up his thoughts in a personal letter to Fields and other fans of the team:

Once again we find ourselves in a most endearing time. A great man and player by the name of Mark Fields has a recurrence of Hodgkin's disease.

We, as fans, will not forget his first fight, and remember how inspirational it was that season along side with Sam, watching us march to our first Super Bowl. I became teary-eyed when watching them address the team in a very emotional thank you.

To you Mark, I am hoping for the very best outcome, which is to see you lay down the law on this recurrence and show no mercy to our opponents. My heart, respect and forever thanks goes out to you in this time.

From all of us who are panther fans -- thank you. You can beat this once again. We are all behind you. – Robert Wilson, Jr.

Keep Pounding, Mark.

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