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Monday, September 3, 2007

Practice Squad Set; Horn, Deloatch Cut; Butler to Houston

Carolina created its practice squad this afternoon, signing back DT Gary Gibson, FB Billy Latsko, OT Reuben Riley, TE Chad Upshaw, and S C J Wilson. All of the above were with the team in training camp. The team also cut WR Chris Horn and CB Curtis Deloatch to make room for Dante Wesley and Marquand Manuel.

Wilson, the only 2007 Panthers draft pick to be cut so far, will help the team out at CB and S; Latsko, a rookie out of Florida, beat out veteran Steven Jackson for the 2nd string FB spot, but didn't do enough to stay on the team; Gibson, an undersized second year player from Rutgers, was the only PS eligible DL left in camp not to make the team; Upshaw, injured much of camp, is a solid prospect at TE who lifted poorly and ran poorly in pre-draft workouts, but did enough to stay on with the team as well. Reuben Riley, a rookie from Michigan, was a natural guard pushed out to tackle his senior year, and will fill both spots in practice as needed.

The Panthers also added promising WRs Jason Carter (Vikings - 6', 205, 4.65), and Chris Hannon (Chiefs, 6'3, 205) to the Practice Squad. The decision to keep 2 WR was curious, given that the team had kept 6 before cutting Chris Horn today. Carter was a converted QB at Texas A&M, where he also played RB, WR, and returned kicks/punts, and caught 56/827 with 6 td as a senior. Carter will likely do scout team quarterbacking when trying to mimic agile QBs. Carter is a good route runner with solid moves, but has consistency issues.

Hannon, a Tennessee grad, was with the Chiefs' practice squad for 14 games, working on the active roster for the first and last games, both inactive. Hannon started 8 games as a senior, 20 total, for a career of 69/850 and 12 TD. His best season, as a Sophomore, included 21 receptions and 7 TD, falling off after that in his final two seasons. Hannon saw spot duty as a kick and punt returner. A minor storyline in camp on the HBO series Hard Knocks, Hannon lost his job to veteran Eddie Drummond. The series also featured former Panther Rod Gardner, with a somewhat sobering look at why he washed out here as well as everywhere else.

The decision to cut Deloatch instead of Quenton Teal made sense because of Wesley's experience in the system; with both Manuel and Chris Harris effectively learning the defense, a little more experience on the team isn't bad. However, it still casts doubt on the health of Nate Salley, and certainly removes much doubt of the team putting Wesley at safety.

Manuel will wear 36; Dante Wesley will wear 23, the number Ken Lucas vacated to take Wesley's old #, 21. Frank Omiyale was issued 76; Marcus Freeman, 82; Matt Moore, 3.
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