Player Spotlight: LB Jon Beason

Streeter Lecka

52 and counting....

52 is an 'untouchable' number, which is an integer that cannot be expressed as the sum of all proper divisors of any positive number. 52 is one of five double digit untouchable numbers, which further defines it as being very unique, like Jon Beason.

How many of you knew that there were approximately 52 weeks in a year? Don't be surprised if the complexity of that numerical formula takes a while to sink in.

U.S. Route 52 runs from South Carolina, through North Carolina, and all the way up to South Dakota. I am personally connected to this road because I traveled many times on this highway as a child growing up in Stanly County, NC. Is anyone else out there familiar with Stanly County?

A standard deck of cards has 52 cards(minus Jokers).

There are 52 white keys(notes in the C major scale) on a standard piano. I still think the piano is the single best hope we have for racial harmony(just ask Stevie Wonder and Sir Paul McCartney). Hellooo? Ebony and Ivory, anyone?

Of all the numerical facts surrounding the number 52, the one that stuck out the most to me was the very first one. I couldn't get past the irony associated with the untouchable status that Jon Beason once held firmly. Believe it or not, our former 2007 first round pick's ascension to near greatness really did occur.

I get it. The memory of a dominant Beason taking over for his talented, yet oft injured pal from the U, Dan Morgan, seems distant at best and nonexistent at worst.

But the problem isn't necessarily convincing ourselves that there actually was a time when Jon Beason was transforming himself into Beast each and every Sunday. It's the struggle to believe that he can once again be the guy who was not only piling up game changing plays at an All-Pro level, but also solidifying himself as the heart and soul of the Panthers. In essence, he was the perfect player. Indispensable. Untouchable.

Then came the injury.

What a painful memory. The hopes and dreams of an entire fan base ostensibly disappeared the moment we witnessed that most horrific sight: The former Beast, now reduced to human form, limping and struggling to run down former teammate Jeff King, with a newly acquired lame Achilles heel in the 2011 season opener.

Two years is an eternity for an NFL player to be unavailable, and we don't have to look any further than the drafting of Luke Kuechly to reinforce this idea. No one could have predicted that the Panthers 2012 first round pick would go on to earn the defensive rookie of the year award.

Truth be told, Kuechly may have had the best rookie season ever by a Panther, and number 52 was forced to stand idly by while his former starting middle linebacker status was being slowly, but surely taken away. What a tough pill to swallow. As painful as it must have been, Beason was still man enough to handle the situation with class and dignity.

These are the type of situations that end up defining who we are more than anything else in life. When adversity comes, how do we react? Jon Beason chose the way of humility, and as a result, I respect him more than ever before.

As it stands, a starting position on the outside is his for the taking, and I personally believe he is going to be as good as he ever was before. Don't believe me? Look no further than Thomas Davis. If number 58 can come back from three ACL tears, and play lights out, then can't we take a leap of faith when it comes to number 52? Let's not forget that he spent the better part of two years being motivated and inspired during physical therapy sessions alongside Davis himself.

So what can be expected from Jon Beason in 2013? I believe we'll see the manifestation of a better man and Beast. Just don't be surprised when number 52 brings home the NFL's prestigious Comeback Player of the Year Award, an honor that he and TD can deservedly share together.

What about you, CSR? Are you on board with this prediction?

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