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April 30, 2010

Clausen makes grocery stop for Smith

Shortly before leaving the Los Angeles area to fly to Charlotte for his first minicamp with the Carolina Panthers earlier this week, quarterback Jimmy Clausen ran an errand for new teammate Steve Smith.

Smith, a Panthers receiver, sent Clausen a text message telling the rookie to be sure to bring some Cactus Cooler sodas with him to Carolina.

Cactus Cooler, an orange and pineapple flavored soda, is available only in California and Arizona.

Like Clausen, Smith is from the Los Angeles area.

Though it was a bit of a challenge, Clausen said the sodas arrived safely and have been given to Smith.

Now, Clausen has begun focusing on his primary job to deliver the football to Smith.

"Steve seems like a great guy," said Clausen. "He's obviously a great player."

-- Charles Chandler

Posted by Observer Sports on April 30, 2010 at 01:04 PM | Permalink | Comments (35)

LB Davis returns as minicamp opens

The new-look Carolina Panthers had a beautiful, sunny day for their first practice together Friday morning.

As draftees Jimmy Clausen, Brandon LaFell, Armatni Edwards, Eric Norwood & Co., joined forces on the field for the first time, Carolina also had a surprise appearance by veteran outside linebacker Thomas Davis.

Davis suffered a torn ACL midway through last season and apparently has had a speedy recovery. He participated fully in practice.

Clausen, the former Notre Dame quarterback picked in the second round, looked sharp and accurate with his throws. LaFell, a wide receiver from LSU, dropped several passes. Edwards, the former Appalachain State quarterback-turned-receiver, showed very good, soft hands, catching most everything thrown to him.

Cornerback Richard Marshall didn't attend due to his disatisfaction with not having a long-term contract continued. Coach John Fox said he didn't know how long Marshall's protest could last, but that he knows Marshall is working hard and staying in shape.

Since Marshall hasn't signed his restricted free agent tender yet, the minicamp is not mandatory for him.

Players present who didn't participate because they're recovering from surgery or for other health reasons were left tackle Jordan Gross, right tackle Jeff Otah, defensive tackle Tank Tyler, defensive end Tyler Brayton, running backs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, tight end Dane Rosario and guard C.J. Davis.

-- Charles Chandler

Posted by Observer Sports on April 30, 2010 at 12:50 PM | Permalink | Comments (14)

Marshall won't be at Panthers' minicamp

When the Panthers take the field this morning for their first minicamp practice, cornerback Richard Marshalll won't be with them.

Marshall, upset about the second-round free agent tender the team gave him at $1.759 million, has been looking for a new long-term contract for some time.

Marshall has not signed the tender and thus isn't under contract, so the minicamp is not mandatory for him.

We'll have  more on this one later at www.charlotteobserver.com

-- Darin Gantt

Posted by Observer Sports on April 30, 2010 at 09:27 AM | Permalink | Comments (25)

April 28, 2010

Ex-Panther S Teal signs with Seahawks

    Former Panthers S Quinton Teal signed with Seattle Wednesday, giving him an opportunity to carve a new niche for himself there.

    There was a potential opening here, once Chris Harris was traded to Chicago Tuesday, but his agent was well toward an agreement with the Seahawks days ago.

    Teal, a former undrafted free agent from Coastal Carolina, spent three years with the Panthers, mostly as a special teamer.

    He was a restricted free agent, but wasn't tendered by the Panthers. He found a landing spot in Seattle in part because the Seahawks have two former Panthers scouts in their pro personnel department.

    Carolina enters minicamp this weekend with starters Charles Godfrey and Sherrod Martin, journeyman Aaron Francisco and sixth-round pick Jordan Pugh at safety, along with undrafted rookie Matt O'Hanlon from Nebraska.


— Darin Gantt

Posted by Observer Sports on April 28, 2010 at 07:16 PM | Permalink | Comments (16)

Clausen to wear jersey No. 2

Panthers second round pick Jimmy Clausen will wear jersey No. 2. Duplicates already are available by order from the NFL and the team store.

Clausen was projected as a top 15 pick but dropped to the Panthers with the No. 48 overall selection.

He wore No. 7 at Notre Dame, but that number already belonged to punter Jason Baker.

His new number will serve as a constant reminder that he fell into the second round, which he already has said will motivate him throughout his pro career.

-- Charles Chandler

Posted by Observer Sports on April 28, 2010 at 06:19 PM | Permalink | Comments (29)

April 27, 2010

Harris tweets he's been traded (update 2)

    Panthers SS Chris Harris just wrote on his twitter page that he's been traded to the Chicago Bears.

    The Panthers have young safeties they trust in Charles Godfrey and Sherrod Martin, and drafted Jordan Pugh in the sixth round to go with journeyman Aaron Francisco

    (Update: 3:50 p.m.) It appears the player coming back for Harris will be LB Jamar Williams, who would give them another option at WLB and MLB. He's played well when he's played for the Bears, but that hasn't been often, since he was stuck behind Lance Briggs there.

    Harris has tried to put the genie back in the bottle on his Facebook page, saying he "jumped the gun," but the deal appears close to going through.

    (Update 4:11 p.m.) Harris now says on Facebook: "The deal is done." Ahhh, new media.

— Darin Gantt

Posted by Observer Sports on April 27, 2010 at 01:37 PM | Permalink | Comments (123)

April 26, 2010

Panthers play the numbers game

    Their familiar 7s and 14s were taken, so the two most high-profile draft picks on the Panthers roster are going to have new identities when they get here this weekend for minicamp.

    QB Jimmy Clausen wore 7 throughout his time at Notre Dame, but that belongs to P Jason Baker. Likewise WR Armanti Edwards wore 14 at Appalachian State, but that's QB Hunter Cantwell here .

    So Clausen will wear 2 and Edwards 10, and they'll be among the most closely watched numbers on the field this weekend.

    Here's a look at the rest of the draft pick numbers, along with some of the free agents picked up this offseason:

    WR Brandon LaFell (11), LB Eric Norwood (92), DE Greg Hardy (76), WR David Gettis (12), S Jordan Pugh (29), QB Tony Pike (16), CB R.J. Stanford (35) and CB Robert McClain (36).

    Also, K Todd Carter (5), WR Wallace Wright (15), S Aaron Francisco (21), CB Marcus Hudson (25), CB Brian Witherspoon (32), LB Brett Warren (48), C Steve Justice (63) and DT Ed Johnson (99).

    The Panthers have Norwood listed as a defensive end on thier roster, but coach John Fox said the plan was to start him at strong-side linebacker. 

    As for numbers, equipment manager Jackie Miles will often sit on the numbers of departed veterans who had a little clout around here.

    So it's worth noting at the moment there's no 17, 45, 53 or 87, and it would be surprising if former QB Jake Delhomme's number gets issued for a while.

— Darin Gantt

Posted by Observer Sports on April 26, 2010 at 01:10 PM | Permalink | Comments (37)

April 24, 2010

Undrafted rookie agreements (Update 2)

    The Panthers have already begun working to sign their undrafted class. They could sign as many as 19, though they might not go that far.

    Based on reports from agents and colleges and other sources, here's a look at the players they have agreed to deal with thus far:

    WR Trey Young (South Carolina State), FB Rashawn Jackson (Virginia) OL Ray Hisatake (Hawaii), Kurtis Gregory (Missouri) and Mark Ortmann (Michigan), DT Andre Neblett (Temple), S Matt O’Hanlon (Nebraska) and P Blake Haudan (Minnesota). 

    Stay tuned. We'll update as needed.

    (Update: 8:16 a.m. The Panthers have also agreed to deals with K Aaron Pettrey (Ohio State) and TE Andrew George (BYU).

    (Update Monday, 3:34 p.m.) They also agreed to deals with RB Daniel Porter (Louisiana Tech), G Noah Franklin (Oklahoma State) and LB Sean Ware (New Hamspire).

    That gives them a class of 13, which brings them to 84 players heading into this weekend's minicamp. 

— Darin Gantt

Posted by Observer Sports on April 24, 2010 at 09:46 PM | Permalink | Comments (43)

Missouri RG signs with Panthers

Once the draft ended, the Panthers joined the rest of the NFL in a rush to sign undrafted players.

Names will trickle in over the next day or so.

Just got word that Carolina has signed Missouri right guard Kurtis Gregory (6-4 1/2, 305). He started 41 consecutive games over the past three seasons. He was a team captain last season. He obtained his undegraduate degree in three years and then began working on a Master's degree.

-- Charles Chandler

Posted by Observer Sports on April 24, 2010 at 09:28 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)

Ole Miss QB Snead signs after draft

Mississippi quarterback Jevan Snead, whose stock dropped dramatically from earlier this season to the point the he fell completely out of the NFL draft, has signed a rookie free agent contract.

If he makes the team, look for him in Bank of America Stadium this season.

But with Tampa Bay, not Carolina!

Couldn't resist!

-- Charles Chandler

Posted by Observer Sports on April 24, 2010 at 06:21 PM | Permalink | Comments (11)