Father's illness fuels WR Rashad Ross in 'last chance' with Panthers
/ Panthers

By David NewtonESPN Staff Writer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Carolina Panthers have a lot of important storylines as they begin offseason workouts. Cam Newton's shoulder rehab. The transition of the defense to multiple fronts. The search for new leadership with team captains Julius Peppers, Thomas Davis and Ryan Kalil gone.

But for one player, the level of importance is elevated more than others. This is the start of what wide receiver Rashard Ross considers his last chance to make an NFL roster, to make his dying father more proud of him than he already is.

Ross, 29, will begin his ninth stint with an NFL team. Carolina recently signed him to one-year deal after Ross led the defunct Alliance of American Football with seven touchdown catches.

While Ross’ focus during organized team activities is on getting to know his new teammates and playbook, his thoughts will be in California where his father, Zach, is battling stage 4 liver cancer.

"He just wants to see me get back to the NFL and be successful," Ross told ESPN.com. "It's made me just work harder and really focus on doing what he wants me to do since he doesn't have much time to...

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