Jon Beason says he'll be better than ever

Panthers linebacker Jon Beason held the launch of his charitable foundation Tuesday afternoon at the Palm in Southpark. The turnout included reporters from three Charlotte TV stations, the Associated Press and the Observer.

All asked earnest questions about Beason's celebrity waiter event – May 13 at the Palm to benefit his education-minded foundation – and nibbled on the butterflied shrimp and crabcakes.

But everyone eventually got around to different versions of the same question: How is Beason's health and how confident is he that he'll return to the Pro Bowl form he displayed before three surgeries over a 17-month span?

“I'll be better,” Beason said. “I can't even fathom not being better than I previously was. Especially, when you get to this stage of your career, mentally you know how to prepare and those are the things that you're focusing on more.”

It should be noted that Beason made the same statement last offseason when he was coming off Achilles' surgery.

Beason made it through four games in 2012 before shutting it down with knee and shoulder injuries. He underwent microfracture surgery on his right knee last October, and had his left labrum repaired in January.

He will be limited in OTAs if he participates at all. His goal is July and the start of training camp.

He'll be playing a new position. While he was out, Luke Kuechly led the league in tackles and was named the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Unlike his comments after the Panthers drafted Kuechly ninth overall last year, Beason said Tuesday that Kuechly “absolutely” deserves to be the starter in the middle. Interestingly, Beason said he would likely play the weak side, where Thomas Davis started the final 12 games last season.

Beason said Davis would shift to the strong side, which requires more drops into coverage in the Panthers' 4-3 scheme than the weak side, according to Beason.

(Tickets for the celebrity waiter event at the Palm on May 13 are $250 for general seating and $350 for VIP status and can be purchased at

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