Panthers Tidbits 7-31

Linebacker Dan Morgan is borrowing a page from Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens, having purchased a hyperbaric chamber designed to help his body heal quicker from injuries. Now, every day Morgan crawls into the concealed chamber, zips it up, puts on his iPod and lays down for a relaxing 45-minute nap.

The machine goes to work, pumping pure oxygen into his body, supposedly allowing it to recover quicker from minor bumps, bruises and muscle pulls.

"You get in and zip it up and it almost feels like when you are in a plane and you're taking off," Morgan said. "Your ears pop at first. It takes a little bit to get used to it."

After a severe ankle injury late in the 2004 season, Owens, then a member of the Philadelphia Eagles, used the hyperbaric chamber every day in an effort to get back in time for the Super Bowl against the New England Patriots.

It worked.

Even though the Eagles lost that day, Owens performed admirably, catching nine passes for 122 yards. Like Owens, Morgan swears it works.

"It might be all mental, but since I've used it I've noticed a difference in just the way the body feels and the way it recovers from soreness," he said. "And it relaxes me."

The hyperbaric chamber is not cheap.

In fact, it cost Morgan a cool $20,000.

But he figures it's a small price to pay if it keeps him on the field and extends his NFL career. Along with an intense training program this offseason in which he worked out every day, Morgan said he's in the best shape of his career.

--It's pretty clear Carolina Panther fans are jazzed up about the 2006 season.

It took only 15 minutes Saturday to sell out all eight regular season home games, marking only the second time in franchise history all of the regular season home games have sold out on the first day. The other year was 1997 after the Panthers went to their first NFC Championship Game.

About 7,000 single-game tickets for each of the eight regular season home game went on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday.

The only tickets still available are for the team's two preseason games on Aug. 12 against the Buffalo Bills and Aug. 24 versus the Miami Dolphins.

"We have been fortunate to receive tremendous support since the beginning of the franchise, starting with our PSL owners," said Phil Youtsey, the team's director of ticket sales. "Today was another example that we are in a great NFL market."

Of course, Carolina's recent success under coach John Fox and the fact the Panthers are among the favorites to win the Super Bowl is also a major reason for the quick sellouts.

The interest in the team also carried over to Spartanburg, S.C., on Saturday where fans came in droves to see the first two practices. It was believed to be the largest opening day crowd in franchise history.

"We've had great fan support way back to '02 (Fox's first season as head coach)," Fox said of the crowd that gathered at Wofford College. "It doesn't surprise me. We've got great fans. This is really the only opportunity that they get to come, because during the regular season we have closed practices."

--Quarterback Jake Delhomme said he's impressed by the talent on the defensive side of the ball and believes working against that unit will only make the offense better.

"It helps going against a Ken Lucas and a Chris Gamble every day," Delhomme said. "For us as quarterbacks, when you break the huddle and you start from left to right and you see (Mike) Rucker , Ma'ake (Kemoeatu), (Kris) Jenkins and (Julius) Peppers, you know, that's not a sight you see every day. For our offensive linemen to go up against them every day it will make us better. There's a lot of talent on the field."

--Most first-round draft picks might not be too excited about being thrust into a kickoff return role, but Carolina's DeAngelo Williams seems thrilled with the opportunity.

"I'm excited about it," Williams said. "I actually talked to them about it. I'm jacked up every time we practice, because I'm like, 'When we going to practice returning kickoffs, coach?' He's probably tired of hearing about it."

--Williams showed up for lunch wearing a team-issued floppy white safari hat with a Panthers logo on it. When asked if he was trying to copy mentor DeShaun Foster, Williams laughed and said, "Hey, I'm all about the free hats. I'm stoked about my free hats. All the hats they give me, I keep. It's the ones I've got to pay for that I can't stand."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I've been the president before. It doesn't bother me. I'm just a consultant now. My term is over. I'm just here to try to help Carolina win a championship, so I can get another one. That's my point." -- Panthers WR Keyshawn Johnson on being the No. 2 receiver in Carolina behind Steve Smith

Panther Insider Top Stories