Throw Keyshawn The Damn Ball!
by Brian Meador

When the Dallas Cowboys signed Terrell Owens during the offseason, it became clear that WR Keyshawn Johnson's two-year stint with the Boys had run its course. Too bad for Dallas. Good for the Carolina Panthers. Dallas head coach Bill Parcells even got to work on the phone to help his friend land in a good spot. The Giants had an offer on the table but were quickly turned down after Keyshawn made his visit to Charlotte. He was sold on the Big Cats after a brief visit to the Queen City and a phone call from Panther All-Pro WR Steve Smith. "He said anything good for the team is good for me." Keyshawn intimated.

Johnson signed a deal worth about $19 million with a $5 million signing bonus. He's worth every penny. While he wore out his welcome with the Jets and the Bucs, he was a hit in Dallas. Aside from being the steady possession receiver Parcells had wanted. Johnson was an ambassador for the Cowboys off the field. Something the team desperately needed. Johnson's gifts to various charities have been well-documented and if you've seen him catch a touchdown, then you've seen him make a beeline to the end zone stands reserved for underprivileged individuals. Many wheelchair-bound Cowboys fans have left Texas Stadium with a pigskin souvenir thanks to K.J. In my opinion, that beats the Sharpie-wielding, pom-pom-waving nonsense that will soon be "entertaining" the masses in Big D.

Johnson left his ego behind a long time ago. After his first training camp practice with the Panthers over the weekend, Johnson said he "wasn't the president anymore. I've been the president. Now I'm the consultant. I just want to help this team win a Super Bowl. That's the point."

The point is Johnson gives the Panthers the second receiving threat they so desperately needed last year during their run to the NFC championship. Seattle whipped Carolina by dogging the one playmaking threat on the field. Smith saw double and triple teams before the day was done. Johnson also has something the Panthers crave, a Super Bowl title. Funny how when Keyshawn went to Dallas, the critics said the Cowboys made a mistake because Johnson was over the hill. Now just about every NFL media outlet is picking the Panthers to contend, if not win, the Super Bowl. They can. If they throw Keyshawn the damn ball.

Brian Meador