Behind Enemy Lines: Stephen Davis

The ex-Redskins running back never wanted to leave Washington. In the end he had no choice. But he couldn't have picked a better spot to land in: Carolina craved a ball-control back. And, unlike last season, Davis is a perfect fit for his new system.

Q: How's your ankle?

A: Getting better.

Q: Is there any way you won't play this weekend?

A: It's a lot better than it was. Hopefully I can be on the field Sunday.

Q: How much have you looked forward to this game?

A: My main thing is to approach it like it's any other game, get prepared during the week, to have a physical game and know that these guys will be ready to play. They're coming off a win and they're excited. They'll be motivated because it's me.

Q: What about Rock Cartwright?

A: I'm happy for him. I'm proud of him. He's worked hard to be in the position he's in. I hope he has a successful day, but we come out with the victory.

Q: Did you take Rock under your wing in Washington?

A: Yeah. He has a lot of heart and desire and he runs hard when he has the ball. He blocks well and he's a guy who just wants to go out and perform and help the team.

Q: Is he a smaller version of you?

A: Yeah. The way he runs with his pads down and runs over people and runs with a lot of determination.

Q: Will this game be tough because you're so close to guys here?

A: It's tough, but the thing I know is what we have in front of us as a team. I know the position we're in. Remember, we haven't beaten them in six tries. They have a chip on their shoulder like, `Hey, we've beaten those guys.'

Q: But you're 5-0 in those games.

A: Yeah I'm 5-0, but I hope it can change this year.

Q: How hard would it be not to play?

A: It would be hard considering it's my ex-team. The thing is I want to play every game. But not playing this game would definitely hurt me a little bit.

Q: Did you feel it was personal with you when you left here?

A: It was never personal, it was always business. They made a business decision and it was to let me go and I have no grudges against them. I'm not mad at anyone. I'm just happy that I get an opportunity here in Carolina and I'm making the best of it. I took it like a man and I kept on going. Last year was a learning experience for me. So every time I go out I play like it's my last because you never know what's going to happen. I never take it for granted when I'm on the field.

Q: How hard was last year for you?

A: It was hard considering I had some injuries and was unable to play at the end of the season. Back when they released me early on and I was jobless for a while, I was wishing they would have given me a better chance. But things happen for a reason and I'm here now.

Q: Do you feel this is the perfect offense for you?

A: It's a perfect fit for me.

Q: At what point did you feel you wouldn't fit in here?

A: Towards the middle of the season I wasn't getting as many carries as I'd hope to get. Coach Spurrier came to me and said they were going to let the young guys play. I said you're the coach. You can't say anything about it. From what I'm hearing now they're running a lot. I'm glad for the guys running he ball.

Q: What would your advice to Rock be?

A: Just stay positive and work hard every day. He's making blocks, getting first downs. I'm proud of him.

Q: Do you think Fred Smoot will be able to tackle you Sunday?

A (laughing): Anything's possible (laughing).

Q: Was there ever any talk last year about redoing your contract?

A: There wasn't any talk about redoing it.

Q: Who did it come down to?

A: Carolina and Houston. I weighed what was in front of me and this was an opportunity to be close to home and family.

Q: Are you running better than ever?

A: I'm taking advantage of every opportunity I have. The guys up front are doing a great job. They're working hard. Nothing has changed.

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