'Knocked Out' of contention?

Running back Nick Goings almost saw the collision once on a sports highlight show, but turned away at the last second. After getting the start in last year's NFC Championship game, Goings lasted just five carries before suffering a concussion following a devastating hit by Seattle's Lofa Tatupu. It was one of those rare hits where as you watch it live, you couldn't help but say, "Ooooh!"

Goings was helped off the field, but the collision was so severe he spent the night in a Seattle hospital with a severe concussion and did not return home on the team charter.

"I don't want to see it on tape," Goings said. "But I've heard how bad it was."

To this day, he doesn't remember anything after the hit.

"I remember jumping over Hoov and colliding (with Tatupu) and that's about it," Goings said. "It was crazy. I remember being in the hospital later that night, thinking 'Where am I? What happened?' But that's about it."

He finished the game with 2 yards on five carries.

With DeShaun Foster, Stephen Davis and Goings all injured, the Panthers went with fourth-string running back Jamal Robertson the remainder of the game and that didn't bode well for the visitors.

The Panthers couldn't move the ball on the ground and their passing game suffered too as they lost the game 34-14, ending a chance at a second Super Bowl appearance in three seasons.

"It was definitely disappointing after getting a chance to start in the NFC Championship game and then having it end like that," Goings said.

Goings, now 28, knows it's an opportunity he may never have again.

Although he's currently working with the second team in the team's summer school practices, more than likely Goings will end up third on the depth chart behind Foster and first-round draft pick DeAngelo Williams from Memphis.

Goings is eager to get back in the ring after getting knocked out. He's bulked up to 220 pounds -- up six pounds from last season -- and said he feels in the best shape he has ever been.

And he's using last year's disappointing conclusion as motivation for this year.

"Honestly, I can't wait until the season is here," Goings said. "I can't wait to get to that first play again, get it behind me and move on and have a great season."

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