CHARLOTTE - Carolina Panthers receiver Muhsin Muhammad doesn't suggest that his physical skills match those of his younger years, but he's far from ready to talk about retirement.
"I think I still have some good, good years of football in me," Muhammad, 36, said Tuesday. "You get what you get with me. I'm going to be a great blocker. I'm going to catch some tough balls. I'm going to make some big plays here and there, and just go out and play with a lot of fun and enthusiasm."
Muhammad had his best game of the season in Sunday's 28-19 victory against Atlanta, catching six passes for 91 yards, including 21- and 22-yard receptions on the Panthers' first touchdown drive.
That followed a two-game absence while he recovered from a sprained knee. Prior to the injury, he had not had more than 51 yards receiving in any game or caught a pass of 20 yards or more.
Muhammad's early season statistics reflected the Panthers' struggles with their passing attack, which included 13 interceptions by quarterback Jake Delhomme in the first six games.
But against the Falcons, Muhammad had a splendid performance.
"I still know how to get open," he said. "I'm still a factor on this team, a factor on this offense. I'm always available when they're ready to throw the ball."
On the touchy subject of how much ability Muhammad has lost from his younger years, Delhomme deferred the question.
"He would be the one to better tell you, 'Hey, maybe I can't do this,'" Delhomme said of Muhammad. "But he might tell you he can't do it, but really (he) can. Moose is not a dummy."
The Panthers picked Muhammad in the second round of the receiver-rich 1996 draft with the 43rd pick. The five receivers taken in the first round are out of the NFL- Keyshawn Johnson, Terry Glenn, Eddie Kennison, Marvin Harrison and Eric Moulds.
Unlike some athletes who refuse to acknowledge any decline in their abilities, regardless of their age, Muhammad did not shrink back when asked to give a self-assessment of his game now compared to his prime.
His best season was 2004 when he caught 93 passes for 1,405 yards and 16 touchdowns. He has yet to score this year.
"I was probably a little faster when I was younger," he said.
"I would say (I'm) probably a lot more patient (now). I think I play with the same kind of intensity and fire that I did before. Maybe (I'm) a little bit lighter."
Muhammad, whose contract expires after this season, said he plans to continue playing "until the wheels fall off."
"I'll just let my body and probably management or teams tell me when it's time to quit," he said. "If you can do it, do it. If not, then it's time to hang it up."