Sep 13, 2015; Jacksonville, FL, USA; A view of a Carolina Panthers helmet before the game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Carolina Panthers at EverBank Field. The Panthers defeat the Jaguars 20-9. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
27. Kick Returner – Michael Bates (1996-2000)
Bates was once a bronze medalist in the 200 meters at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. While you might remember the Dan vs Dave ads, Bates came within .037 seconds of the gold medal winner. The guy that Bates had beaten in order to get to Barcelona in the 200 meters was Carl Lewis.
The former track guy was plain flying in 1996 when he averaged over thirty yards per return. As a result he was rewarded with All-Pro status that year. He was also a Pro Bowl regular at the position.
It was too bad that we never could get him to catch the ball. I would still take Bates over late returners like Rod ‘He Hate Me’ Smart.
That’s it for the All Time Panther Roster for the first twenty years. It is interesting to see where the Panthers had gluts of players at some positions, but scarcity at others.
The Carolina Panthers play Atlanta tomorrow to try and get closer to a first round bye.