Shelton: The Panthers know what I can do

Matt Edwards recently got a chance to speak with Panthers' second-year running back Eric Shelton about his rehab, his goals and his perception of where he stands with the team.

Q: How much do you weigh now?
A: 249 pounds

Q: What did you work on the most while on IR and during the off-season? In what area do you feel that you improved the most?
A: I really worked on my hips and my explosion.

Q: It's been well documented that your injury would not have kept you out the entire season. Did you ever get an answer from the staff on exactly why you were put on the IR? How about your blocking?
A: No. When you're on IR you can't really do anything. I haven't had a chance to block anybody!

Q: Have you discussed what your role will be this upcoming season with the coaching staff?
A: No.

Q: There's been a lot of talk among fans and the media that the Panthers may look at drafting a RB early. How do you feel about that? Do you think it's true?
A: There's a draft every year. It's just a part of the business. If they feel they need a RB, they'll take a RB. I really don't have any control over that.

Q: Who is a current (or former) NFL RB who you would compare yourself to? Why?
A: I really don't like comparing myself to anyone. I'm just me; I go out and do what I do and I feel I do it well. I feel like comparing myself to others kind of takes away from the accomplishments of the other guy.

Q: What are your strengths?
A: I'm a north - south runner. I'm going to get yards after contact and when you're in those short yardage situations I'm going to get it for you.

Q: What areas do you feel you still need to improve upon?
A: A lot of things mentally I got straightened out during the season that I didn't understand before the season just from basically growing up and learning the offense. I did a lot of learning defensive schemes and blitzes.

Q: How is Stefan LeFors doing? Do you think he'll be able to compete with Weinke for the #2 spot?
A: Yeah, he was over here yesterday, he's pretty good. I hope he gets that opportunity. I think he's a great QB with his accuracy and with his feet. I'd have liked to see him get an opportunity in the regular season along with myself, but it didn't happen. That's up to the coaches and the rest of the staff. It is what it is. When you get your opportunity, you just got to make it happen.

Q: What are your goals, both personal and for the team this upcoming season?
A: Just get the opportunity to make it to a regular season game and play. The most disappointing thing last year was watching a lot of other guys who came out in the draft play while I sat. That hurt me emotionally and mentally to be in that situation after playing my whole life. The Panthers and I both know what I can do.

Q: Do you feel that splitting carries at Louisville hurt you in your transition to the NFL? By that I mean, when you were in the game, you were basically used as a battering ram. You really didn't get an opportunity to run routes or do a lot of blocking.
A: I had no opportunities to catch passes. That's an area I have worked on as well. I was basically just a straight ahead runner. I'm 250 pounds, I'm not going to be running a lot of routes and I'm not going to be running around the edge. I'm always going to be a straight ahead runner. So, really, I don't see that it hurt me that much.

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