CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- John Fox apologized Monday to New York
coach Herman Edwards for comments Carolina cornerback Ken Lucas
made about the Jets quitting during the Panthers' 30-3 victory.
Fox, who keeps his team buttoned-up and frowns on bravado, also
lectured the NFC South-leading Panthers about the consequences of
"John's on the phone with me for 20 minutes trying to explain
what [Lucas] was trying to say," Edwards said. "I believe Foxy
and I believe the kid. John didn't have to call me, and he called
me to let me know, 'Coach he knows better than that. This is what
he was trying to say.'
"He addressed his team, too, about it."
Lucas, who had back-to-back game-changing interceptions on
Sunday, said the Jets "kind of gave up after that because they
felt they couldn't score."
"You thought, at the end of the game, that they would at least
try to throw the ball for the end zone, but they just ran the ball
and ran the clock out," Lucas added. "It's good when you can make
a team quit on you. That says a lot."
The Panthers were clinging to a 10-3 lead in the third quarter
when Brooks Bollinger moved the Jets to the Carolina 24. Laveranues Coles blew past Lucas and was open in the end zone, but Bollinger's
pass was underthrown and Lucas had enough time to catch up and jump
in front of it for an interception.
That interception preveted the Jets from tying the game. Then
Lucas had his second pick on New York's next possession and
Carolina turned it into a touchdown that broke the game open.
The Jets did continue to throw after Lucas' picks, but after
linebacker Will Witherspoon returned Bollinger's fourth
interception for a touchdown, they ran the ball on nine of their
final 10 plays.
Fox made no mention of his call to Edwards during his Monday
news conference, and said he understood Lucas' comments to be about
New York running out the clock.
Later Monday, he said that Lucas regretted making the remark and
it was something he addressed with the team. Also at issue were
comments by Witherspoon, who predicted the surging Panthers would
beat the Atlanta Falcons later this season.
Fox chalked up Witherspoon's bravado as excitement after the
game, which was Carolina's sixth-consecutive win and kept it tied
with Seattle for the best record in the NFC.
In his lecture to the team, Fox stressed the importance of
keeping things in perspective, two people with knowledge of the
discussion told The Associated Press. Part of that included
explaining to Lucas, who is in his first season with the Panthers,
that players in Fox's system are generally expected to keep their
There is very little celebrating among the Panthers, even after
big wins, because Fox keeps things so businesslike -- even after
Sunday's win moved Carolina into first place in the NFC South.
"We are 7-2 and the worst we can do is 7-9, that's all I
know," he said. "We still have a lot of football left. We've won
six in a row, so I'd say [the team is] probably confident. But we
could go out and stumble next week and we'll be the worst team on
the planet again."