Muhsin Muhammad seems as beloved in Carolina as he was disliked in Chicago.

Muhsin Muhammad seems as beloved in Carolina as he was disliked in Chicago.

Muhammad, who said Chicago was “where receivers go to die” this summer, averaged barely 700 yards receiving in his three years as a Bear. But he has almost 8,000 career yards as a Panther and, at age 35, opened the 2008 season with six catches for 56 yards in Carolina’s 26-24 win over San Diego.

“It’s great to have him back,” Carolina coach John Fox said in a teleconference. “He doesn’t look any different than before he left, which is regretful for us. We could have used him in that time while he was away.”

Muhammad earned a reputation for pointing fingers at others in Chicago, but the Panthers say he is an inspiration on and off the field.

“It’s such a blessing for us to have him back,” quarterback Jake Delhomme said. “We tried to replace him and never came remotely close to replacing what he does in this system.”

Delhomme said “it was fantastic” for Carolina’s young receivers to watch Muhammad in practice.

“The first route he runs at practice is exactly the same speed as the last route he runs at practice. And it’s done right,” Delhomme said. “If there is a question, he makes sure it is asked. He just does it all right.”
 
Ogunleye earns NFC honor

Defensive end Adewale Ogunleye was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week after making six tackles, including three tackles for loss, in Chicago’s 29-13 upset of the Colts. He tackled

Joseph Addai for a 2-yard loss and a safety and later smothered Dominic Rhodes for a 2-yard loss on fourth-and-1 at midfield with Chicago clinging to a 22-13 lead in the fourth quarter.

“Well deserved, I might say,” coach Lovie Smith said. “He played hard and physical.”

This is Ogunleye’s third Player of the Week honor, but his first in five seasons with the Bears. He earned the honor with the Dolphins in 2002 and 2003. He’s the first Bear to win the honor since Tommie Harris in Week 4 of the 2006 season.
 
Bears look healthy

Carolina held four players out of practice Wednesday (LB Na’il Diggs, TE Dante Rosario, G Travelle Wharton, backup QB Matt Moore) according to the NFL injury report. Two others were limited in practice: WR Ryne Robinson and DB Chris Gamble.

Chris Williams was the only Bear to sit out. Five Bears had limited participation in practice: LB Lance Briggs, DT Tommie Harris, KR Devin Hester, T John Tait and CB Nathan Vasher.

Matt Trowbridge can be reached at (815) 987-1383 or mtrowbridge@rrstar.com.