Back to Practice - For Real!

Only a few days before the Carolina Panthers will board a plane for the west coast for sunny San Diego to play the Chargers.  Now the games count.  There is a lot of work to do.

Here’s what’s being said in the media as the team gets down to the real work.

His timing could not have been better.  D.J. Hackett is returning to practice this week.

Receiver D.J. Hackett is expected back at practice for the Carolina Panthers on Wednesday and, barring any setbacks, should be available for the season opener Sunday in San Diego.

Hackett, who spent an injury-plagued four seasons with Seattle, has been out since early August with a toe injury and didn’t play in any of the Panthers’ four exhibitions.

His return hardly could be more timely.

The Panthers are short at the receiver position with Steve Smith suspended for the first two games.

Hackett could even start against the Chargers opposite Muhsin Muhammad, with Dwayne Jarrett the third option.

Is Hackett going to be the starter?  Is it fair to Dwayne Jarrett that Hackett becomes the starter after he’s had few reps with the first team in practice and has yet to see action in the preseason?  Has Hackett learned the playbook well enough to be the starter?

Here is some speculation on who the Carolina Panthers might be interested in to handle their return duties from the list of those on the waiver wire.

Michael Spurlock, cut by Tampa Bay, and 10-year veteran Tim Dwight are among the players available.

Dwight, 33, has struggled with injuries in recent seasons, but is said to be healthy. He was a Panthers’ nemesis early in his career when he played for Atlanta. Dwight played for Oakland last season.

Spurlock, 25, had a 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown last season, becoming the first player in Buccaneers’ history to score on a kickoff or punt return.

It’s really too bad that Ryne Robinson is out with that injury.  He was coming on at the end of the season last year.  It’s even worse that Ricardo Colclough, who could be the stop-gap return man, had to do something stupid and wind up in jail the day the team was making final cuts.

Close but no cigar for Evan Mathis.

Panthers OL Evan Mathis almost found a new home Sunday, but yet another team found someone they liked better.

Cincinnati put in a waiver claim for Mathis, but they also put in for Detroit G Frank Davis at the same time. Based on the priority system (in which teams claim multiple players at one position) they were awarded Davis, leaving Mathis without a team at the moment.

The season is here now and back to practice – for real.

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Tags: Carolina Panthers D.J. Hackett Dwayne Jarrett Muhsin Muhammad Ryne Robinson

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