Injured Panthers LB Beason vows to return 'better than ever'

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Panthers middle linebacker Jon Beason has no intentions of letting a torn Achilles tendon end his football career.

In his first interview since suffering his season-ending injury in week one, the three-time Pro Bowl selection said he plans to be "better than ever" when he returns next season.

"At first it's hard to come to grips with missing a play, missing a game," said Beason, whose streak of 65 straight starts ended with Carolina's loss to Arizona on Sept. 11.

"Then having to sit home in a splint, not able to leave the house, it's tough because I couldn't be here for my team. But now that I can, I feel better about it. I'm content. The outlook is forward. I'm just concentrating on what I can do as a teammate. For me, it's all about September of 2012."

Beason and teammate Thomas Davis, who's also on injured reserve, still attend team meetings, watch film of opponents and give the team's younger linebackers tips.

Beason injured his Achilles while trying to run down Cardinals tight end Jeff King.

"It felt like I got hit with a stick," Beason said. "When I fell down, I thought someone had tripped me, like when someone hits your heel and you stumble. When I turned around, I realized no one was there. Then I grabbed my calf, and it was just mush."

Beason, who uses a self-operated wheeling scooter to get around, said he'll be out of his cast soon and will then wear a walking boot.

"I plan on being better. I've had setbacks before, and there's always an opportunity to do something great when you come back. In my mind, I expect to be back to my normal self, and then being a year older in the system and in my career, I expect to play even better next year."

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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