Al Messerschmidt

After taking some time to recharge I've decided it's time to come back home.

Most of you probably know what this post is about based on the title, but just in case there are new people here since the last time you heard from me I will explain why I'm writing this as briefly as possible.

Note: This isn't going to be about football. If you want to keep reading, you're more than welcome to stay. If you'd rather read something that contains football analysis, draft talk or both, this probably isn't the post for you.

Now that we have the disclaimer out of the way, let's get back to it.

A couple of months ago I stepped down from my roles of Editor and Social Media Coordinator of CSR. To make a long story short (and to prevent boring you to tears), I had been battling a severe case of burnout for several months and finally reached my breaking point, so I chose to get out while I still had my sanity (well, what little bit I had in the first place). As it turns out, a few months away from everything was exactly what I needed because I was able to sit back and clear the cobwebs without the stress of CSR holding me down.

I didn't just take time away from CSR. I basically ignored everything NFL-related for two months. I watched the Chiefs/Colts playoff game, the Panthers/49ers playoff game and the Super Bowl (and honestly I stopped paying attention after halftime). That's it. I didn't watch the Senior Bowl or the combine. Heck, I didn't even read any combine analysis. In fact, the only three things I know about it are 1) Jadeveon Clowney destroyed the 40, 2) Bruce Ellington had a great weekend and 3) Rich Eisen broke 6 seconds. I only know those three things because Clowney and Ellington are from USCe and because I have a man crush on Rich Eisen. Other than that, I'm totally in the dark when it comes to the combine. I've no idea who had good workouts and who struggled, and I can't provide any sound analysis on who the Panthers should draft other than the information I have about players that I've gathered while watching them play in games (which admittedly isn't very much).

On the surface that probably sounds crazy, but honestly it was the best thing I have ever done for myself. Taking time away allowed me to do some self-evaluation which helped me discover why I was so stressed out before, and now that I understand the source of my problems they are much easier to avoid. I'm not going to go into details about the core issues of why I was always so stressed out, but I'll say this: I learned a lot about myself over the past two months, and I never would have been able to do that had I not taken a hiatus from my duties at CSR.

You've probably noticed over the past week or so that I've made a return to the comment section on a few articles. Part of the reason for that is because I felt the need to pay my respects to Steve Smith after it became known he was going to be released, but the biggest reason is because--quite frankly--I missed you guys. Yes, all of you. I know that it may sound strange considering the events that led to my return, but coming back and chatting with some of you renewed my passion for talking about Panthers football. I guess if there's one positive that can be taken from the Smitty release it's that I found my way back here again.

I did a lot of thinking over the weekend about whether or not I wanted to come back to CSR full time. I talked about it with my wife. I slept on it (which really screwed up my back, but that's neither here nor there). On Monday I decided to reach out to Jaxon and James to get their thoughts, and they were supportive of the idea. I even consulted Ivan. (Yeah, I know.) So, after talking it over with people and thinking about it myself for a few days, I've decided that it's time for me to return to my place on the staff as an editor.

I will now give you a moment to stop applauding.

One of the first things I'm going to do now that I'm back is review the special teams units from last season, because after I came back and started commenting again, I searched through the article history to see if anyone had taken over as the resident special teams guy. I must say that I was saddened to see the dearth of articles about kickers and punters. (IT'S THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE TEAM, PEOPLE! IF IT WEREN'T IMPORTANT THEY WOULDN'T CALL IT SPECIAL TEAMS!) If I remember correctly, the only thing I saw was a story about Graham Gano signing an extension (which, by the way, I'm very happy to see). That needs to change, and I guess I'm the man for the job. With that being said, prepare yourselves for a lot of talk about punters because I have to make up for lost time.

Before I wind this down I just want to say that it feels good to be back, and I do appreciate all the kind words you've given me since I started commenting again. I'm glad you all welcomed me as if I'd never really left. That really means a lot. Thanks for taking the time to read this, and I look forward to talking about punters with all of you, just like old times.

Oh, and just in case you prefer the CliffsNotes version...

tl;dr - I'm back, bitches!

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