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Proehl to return for final season in Carolina

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (March 9, 2005) -- Carolina Panthers receiver Ricky Proehl will put retirement on hold and return for one more season, his 16th in the NFL.

Proehl, who turned 37 on March 7, had been contemplating retirement since late last season, but decided to play a final year after a lengthy meeting with Panthers coach John Fox.

"I'm coming back," said Proehl, who announced his decision March 8 on a Winston-Salem television station. "I can't believe I'm saying that. A week ago I was ready to retire. (Fox) really told me how important I am to the team and that he feels like I can help them this year. It was hard to say no."

Proehl also said he received numerous phone calls from his teammates, all urging him to return to Carolina. The Panthers will need his veteran leadership since Muhsin Muhammad was released earlier this month in a salary cap move.

Proehl ranked third on the Panthers last season with 497 yards receiving. But he was held without a touchdown for just the second time in his career.

Proehl has one year left on his contract with Carolina, and the Panthers gave him a $250,000 roster bonus March 3.

"This will definitely be my last year," he said.

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