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proehl 021204---2/11/04---JERRY WOLFORD PHOTO ---Greensboro----****BUDGETLINE***Carolina Panthers receiver Ricky Proehl signing footballs at omega Sports****CAPTION*****Signing footballs

CHARLOTTE — It’s that time of year again. Thoughts of retirement begin creeping into the mind of Wake Forest alum Ricky Proehl. But after 15 seasons in the NFL, the Carolina Panthers’ wide receiver remains uncertain if he will hang on for another year or give up the game. A final decision probably won’t come for a couple of months.

“What I’ll do is when the year’s over evaluate where I’m at and probably sit down and talk to John Fox and go from there,” Proehl said.

Proehl, who lives in Greensboro, knows there’s a chance Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints — his 237th in the league — could his last if the Panthers lose. Carolina needs to win Sunday and then get some help from other teams to make the playoffs.

It’s pretty clear Fox believes Proehl can still play at a high level. Proehl, the team’s No. 3 receiver, has 32 catches for 472 yards this year.

“I’m very impressed with what he’s been able to accomplish,” Fox said.

Proehl, 36, has one year left on his contract. He said he believes his body could withstand at least one more season, but he doesn’t know if his mind would be ready for another camp.

Proehl said two years ago the only team he wanted to play for was the Panthers. That hasn’t changed. “I think when you’re winning and you’re playing with a great group of guys it’s a lot easier to stay focused on what you want to do in the offseason,” he said. “You’ve got a lot of guys in this locker room with the same goals you have.”

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