NFC South: Chris Harris

Lance Moore out for Saints

January, 6, 2012
The New Orleans Saints have declared wide receiver Lance Moore (hamstring) out for Saturday’s playoff game with Detroit.

New Orleans still has plenty of healthy receivers with Marques Colston, Robert Meachem and Devery Henderson. But the Saints use all sorts of different personnel groupings and Adrian Arrington could pick up some of Moore’s playing time. Arrington has very limited playing experience.

The Saints also declared linebacker Jonathan Casillas (knee) and tight end John Gilmore (toe) out for Saturday. Martez Wilson and Ramon Humber could get more playing time with Casillas out.

The Saints are listing Meachem (knee), linebacker Jonathan Vilma (knee), safety Malcolm Jenkins (neck) and safety Jonathon Amaya (shoulder) as probable.

The only Detroit player who is listed as anything other than probable is safety Chris Harris, who is doubtful with a back injury.

Around the NFC South

October, 1, 2011
Let's take a look at the Saturday headlines from around the NFC South.

Interesting story on the relationship between Chicago defensive end Julius Peppers and Carolina defensive end Charles Johnson. They used to be teammates and there’s lots of irony in the quotes. Peppers says Johnson wasn’t very mature when he came into the league and he tried to show the young player the way. Johnson backs that up, calls Peppers a leader and says he strives to be as consistent as Peppers. Funny, but, prior to this, nobody ever accused Peppers of being mature, a leader or consistent in his Carolina days. But, if Peppers did have something to do with Johnson’s development, then he did leave a bit of a positive legacy in Carolina.

Speaking of former Panthers now with the Bears, safety Chris Harris didn’t sound optimistic about his chances of playing Sunday due to a hamstring injury.

The Saints are saying they won’t approach Sunday’s game against Jacksonville rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert any differently than any other opponent. They even praise Gabbert and say they think he’s well prepared for the challenge. I think the Saints are just being nice. On Sunday, I expect defensive coordinator Gregg Williams to send every pass-rusher he’s got after Gabbert. Besides, even if Gabbert plays better than he did in the rain at Carolina last week, he’s not going to win a shootout with Drew Brees.

Despite starting slowly on offense in all three games this season, the Falcons aren’t going to abandon their practice of scripting the first 15 plays. But it might be wise if coordinator Mike Mularkey inserts some plays that haven’t been in the script this season. It also might be wise if he places a tight end next to left tackle Sam Baker in an effort to help keep quarterback Matt Ryan on his feet.

There already had been reports that Atlanta safety William Moore was fined for a hit on Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman last week. But Roy Cummings reports Moore’s $7,500 tab actually was for a hit on running back Earnest Graham. Cummings also reports that Tampa Bay defensive tackle Brian Price was fined $7,500 for slapping an Atlanta player in the head.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank reportedly sold his Buckhead mansion for $3.9 million.

The Bucs held a Friday night practice to prepare for their Monday night game. Linebacker Quincy Black (ankle) and tight end Kellen Winslow (knee) were among those who sat out. Winslow generally sits out one practice a week and he already had missed Thursday’s practice, so this is one to keep an eye on. The Bucs don’t have to issue their final injury report until later Saturday. We’ll let you know Winslow’s status as soon as we get it.

Ron Rivera: Chicago game is big

September, 28, 2011
One of the most impressive things I’ve seen out of Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera is his honesty.

The latest example of that came in this radio interview with Chicago’s WSCR, Rivera was asked about his departure from the Chicago Bears' coaching staff after the 2006 season. Rivera’s contract wasn’t renewed and he ended up moving on to become defensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers. Rivera previously had played linebacker for the Bears and done an earlier stint as an assistant coach with the team.

Rivera and the Panthers face the Bears on Sunday.

"I'm not shying away from the fact that this is a big one for me,'' Rivera said. "I really feel it. These games are all big, but for me it has a little something extra because it is Chicago.''

See, it’s really not that hard to admit the truth. But so many other coaches and players would have danced around that one and said something like “it’s just another game."

Rivera is refreshing in that regard. He can give an honest answer, but, at the same time, he doesn’t stir up controversy. Rivera said he holds no grudge against Chicago coach Lovie Smith.

"I've said it before, this was all football,'' Rivera said. "As long as it's not a personal thing or issue like that, it's all football business. We just go on about our business and do the things we do. I'm looking forward to it. I really am. Plus there were some guys that were there when I was there. Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Chris Harris is back. These are super guys. Roberto Garza. These are guys that I've gotten to know and I was with for a while. The coaching staff, I still know a lot of those guys there.''
Owners have just voted to approve their proposal to settle the labor dispute. Player representatives are expected to take part in a conference call later Thursday night.

If a deal is reached by both sides, the lockout could be lifted and that opens all sorts of possibilities. As we wait for the players to have their conference call, let’s take a look at one possibility that could come if the lockout is lifted.

Chicago safety Chris Harris said he’d like to see Carolina wide receiver Steve Smith join the Bears. There have been rumors throughout the offseason that Smith may want a trade. But no trades are allowed in a lockout.

The Bears are one of several teams who have been tied via speculation to Smith. But the Harris angle adds some credibility. Harris spent three seasons as Smith’s teammate in Carolina and the two have worked out together this offseason.

Team officials have said if Smith wants to be traded after the lockout they’ll try to accommodate him. But those officials also have said they will only let Smith go if they can get a decent compensation package that could include draft picks or players.

Ranking the NFC South safeties

August, 26, 2010
We’ll continue our NFC South position rankings with the safeties.

[+] EnlargeTanard Jackson
Steve Mitchell/US PresswireTanard Jackson forced three fumbles and had five interceptions last season.
Before we get into the list, let me clarify a few things. I’m throwing free safeties and strong safeties in here together and after double checking the lists of likely starters and backups, I’ve got to say I’m not awestruck by any safety in this division.

There are some guys who were great in their time and there are some guys who could be great in the future. Although I’m projecting in some areas, we’re dealing mostly with the present here.

That’s why I made the final criteria for this list asking myself, “If you were starting a team, which of these safeties would you chose?’’ So, here it comes.

  1. Tanard Jackson, Buccaneers. At the moment, Jackson is simply the most reliable safety in this division and I decided on him after envisioning him in a couple different uniforms (like those worn by the Saints and Falcons). Jackson played on a bad defense last year. It should be slightly better this year and Tampa Bay’s secondary is shaping up to be one of its few strengths. That’s largely because Jackson will be back there directing traffic.
  2. Thomas DeCoud, Falcons. This guy made huge strides last year in his first full season as a starter. The Falcons think he’s only going to be better now that they’ve added cornerback Dunta Robinson. DeCoud might be the most cerebral safety in the division.
  3. Malcolm Jenkins, Saints. I was projecting a bit on DeCoud. I’m projecting a lot on Jenkins. Last year’s first-round pick spent his rookie season at cornerback before making the move to free safety. He’s got big shoes to fill -- and we’ll get to those shoes in a bit. But Jenkins probably has more natural physical talent than any safety in the division. If he has any grasp at all of what he’s doing, he’ll probably end up looking pretty good in Gregg Williams’ defense.
  4. Roman Harper, Saints. I know there are probably even some New Orleans fans who think I’m ranking Harper too high. Well, look at what else is left? But, seriously, I think Harper gets a bit of a bad rap. He’s a strong safety and strong safeties aren’t supposed to be great in coverage. They’re supposed to make tackles and Harper does that. In a very good secondary, he’s a nice role player.
  5. Sherrod Martin, Panthers. Here's another instance where I’m projecting a bit. Martin had three interceptions as a rookie and was part of the reason the Panthers felt comfortable trading Chris Harris. Like the rest of the Carolina defense, it will be interesting to see how he fares without Julius Peppers up front.
  6. Charles Godfrey, Panthers. He’s produced two interceptions in two seasons. But the Panthers think enough of him that he’s in the starting lineup.
  7. Sean Jones, Buccaneers. He was brought in to take over at strong safety and it appears he’s won the starting job. Jones is a pretty average player. But surround him with Jackson and cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Ronde Barber and he’ll be fine.
  8. Darren Sharper
    Jeff Fishbein/Icon SMIDarren Sharper is potentially the top safety on this list -- if he's 100 percent healthy.
  9. Erik Coleman, Falcons. This guy wasn’t a bad player a few years ago, but the coaching staff wasn’t happy with him last season. The Falcons would like to get Coleman out of the starting lineup, but it hasn’t happened yet.
  10. Darren Sharper, Saints. This is the guy I was referring to Jenkins replacing. He’s one of the best safeties of all time. But Sharper is a total unknown at this point. He’s 34 and coming off knee surgery. There are indications he might not be ready for the start of the season. There’s even a chance he could be cut or retire. If Sharper miraculously comes back and is anything close to what he was last season, he jumps to No. 1 on this list immediately. But, at the moment, I think the best the Saints can hope for is to have him as insurance for the second half of the season.
  11. William Moore, Falcons. This is the guy the Falcons want to start ahead of Coleman. But Moore missed most of his rookie year with an injury and has missed a lot of time this preseason. He needs to get healthy and show he’s prepared before he can step into the starting lineup.
  12. Sabby Piscitelli, Buccaneers. This guy got destroyed by Tampa Bay fans last year. Some of that was unfair because, as I said earlier, strong safeties aren’t supposed to be great in coverage. Piscitelli got hung up in deep coverage on a bad defense last year. But the real problem was Piscitelli never came close to being the hitter John Lynch used to be in the same position in Tampa Bay’s defense. He flat-out missed on a lot of tackles. That’s why the Bucs brought in Jones.
There was a lot of outrage in the Carolinas early in the offseason when the Panthers pulled off what some fans called a purge and some called a bloodletting.

The Panthers let go of seven popular veterans and I’m not even counting the fact they simply let Julius Peppers walk into free agency. The cries back in February were that the team was being cheap and dumping salaries. I never truly bought into that because it looked to me like the Panthers were just getting rid of some old guys who they didn’t think were worth their contracts anymore, although I admit I wasn’t a big fan of seeing Brad Hoover pushed out the door.

I stand by all that, but now I feel even stronger that this wasn’t purely a case of owner Jerry Richardson trying to save money. I’ve had a chance to look at and crunch some numbers and I think we can put what Carolina did in the offseason into better perspective.

First off, let’s remember there is no salary cap for 2010. If there was, the Panthers would be sitting at $124 million right now. Here’s the part that’s highly significant -- $29.2 million of that is in what would be called “dead money’’ in a capped year.

What the Panthers did was to decide essentially to dump a lot of future big-cap figures in a year in which there are no cap consequences for that. No one -- not even Richardson, who is heavily involved in the negotiations -- knows what’s going to happen with the labor situation going forward. There’s the possibility of a lockout in 2011. There’s also the possibility an agreement will be reached and a salary cap will be in place.

If that happens, the Panthers are sitting in very good shape. Even if coach John Fox, who is beginning the final year of his contract is gone, whoever is running the show likely will have a ton of cap room to work with.

As it stands right now, the Panthers have just about $70 million committed toward a 2011 cap. Only the Chiefs, Raiders and Buccaneers have less committed and none of them are dramatically below the Panthers. The league average teams have committed toward the salary cap right now is $96 million.

If there’s a cap in place for 2011, I'll guess and say it's likely to be somewhere around $130 million to $140 million and those numbers could be on the low end. That means the Panthers will have at least $60 million to re-sign some of their own key players and go out and get some new ones. That’s not a bad spot to be in.

Now, let’s move on and try to shred one other myth about the “bloodletting.’’ When the Panthers let Hoover, Jake Delhomme, Na'il Diggs, Landon Johnson, Maake Kemoeatu, Damione Lewis and Chris Harris go, it wasn’t totally about saving money.

To start with, the Panthers had to hand Delhomme a $12 million check (money he was guaranteed) when he walked out the door. Diggs was scheduled to make $1.1 million this season and the Panthers had to write him a check for $1.233 million. They had to pay Kemoeatu, who was scheduled to earn $755,000 in base salary, $2.63 million because they didn’t exercise the option on his contract. It was kind of the same deal for Lewis -- he got $1.42 million for not having his option exercised and was only schedule to earn $855,000 in salary and a workout bonus.

In other words, the Panthers paid those guys a lot of money just to go away and get them off the books for the future. In the cases of Hoover, Harris and Johnson, the Panthers saved some money, but, relatively speaking, it wasn’t all that much.

By cutting Hoover, they saved his scheduled $850,000 base salary. Unloading Johnson saved the Panthers just over $2 million. Trading Harris to Chicago pushed his $2 million salary over to the Bears. Theoretically, the Panthers would be taking a $2.145 million cap hit for Harris if there was a cap this year because of pro-rated money.

But Harris, and all the others, are off the books for 2011, when the Panthers conceivably could go out and buy about half an NFL team.

On the radar: Jamar Williams

June, 10, 2010
» NFC On the Radar: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South

A player, coach or issue that should be on your radar as training camp approaches.

As recently as a couple of days ago, Jamar Williams looked like a backup linebacker and special-teams player for the Carolina Panthers. Now, he could be a starter.

[+] EnlargeJamar Williams
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesJamar Williams has a chance to earn a starting role with the Panthers.
Williams seemed almost like a throw-in (a body to complete the deal) when the Panthers traded away safety Chris Harris to the Chicago Bears. But, as of today, Williams is looking like a possible starter at weakside linebacker.

With Thomas Davis suffering his second torn ACL in less than a year, the Panthers suddenly are looking for a starter and Williams may be their safest option. Although rookie Eric Norwood and some other young players could be factors, Williams is the most experienced of the candidates to replace Davis.

He’s only 25, but Williams spent four seasons with the Bears. He has started only three games in his career, but he was the top backup to Lance Briggs and got a lot of playing time, making 43 tackles. At 6-foot and 237 pounds, Williams fits Carolina’s profile of linebackers who aren’t huge, but can run.

Williams has shown the ability to cover tight ends and running backs in the passing game. He may not be a playmaker like Davis, but Williams remains a bit of an unknown and there could be an upside. Briggs prevented Williams from really getting a chance in Chicago.

But Davis’ injury is going to give Williams a chance to raise his profile in Carolina.

Broken tackles in the NFC South

May, 26, 2010
This really shouldn’t come as any surprise, but two members of the Tampa Bay secondary were the worst tacklers in the NFL last year.

The folks at Football Outsiders sat down and reviewed every game from last season.

They looked for broken tackles, which they defined as “one of two events: Either the ball carrier escapes from the grasp of the defender, or the defender is in good position for a tackle but the ball carrier jukes him out of his shoes. If the ball carrier sped by a slow defender who dived and missed, that didn't count as a broken tackle.’’

Under that definition Tampa Bay safety Sabby Piscitelli led the league in broken tackles. Teammate Ronde Barber finished second. By the way, Tampa Bay safety Tanard Jackson wasn’t far behind. Atlanta safety Erik Coleman and former Carolina safety Chris Harris also were pretty high on the list.

I’m not allowed to share the entire breakdown, but, if you have an Insider account, you can get the whole rundown on broken tackles here.

Also, and this one’s free for all, you can get a team-by-team breakdown on broken tackles here. The Football Outsiders totaled up how many broken tackles each defense had and how many each offense forced.

The Tampa Bay defense finished second in the league with 94 broken tackles. On the positive side, the Carolina offense (I’m guessing DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart had a lot to do with this) led the league by forcing 117 broken tackles.
» NFC Stock Watch: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South


Peria Jerry, defensive tackle, Falcons. Watching Jerry exercising on the sidelines and listening to people talk at Atlanta’s minicamp last weekend, I got the sense he still has a long road ahead as he tries to recover from his knee injury. The Falcons, like most teams, don’t reveal timetables for their injured guys and speak only in vague terms about their statuses. But my gut tells me Jerry still has a lengthy process ahead. Even if he’s ready for the start of training camp or the start of the regular season, I’m guessing the Falcons are going to proceed very cautiously with last year’s first-round pick. When Jerry does get on the field, I’d look for the Falcons to use a rotation at defensive tackle and limit his snaps significantly.


Jon Beason, linebacker, Panthers. This guy’s been a leader since the first day he stepped on the field in Carolina. But, after watching Beason in minicamp a couple weeks ago, I’m guessing we’re about to see his leadership skills become much more prominent – and that’s a good thing. Beason is a high-energy guy who totally buys into John Fox’s system. He’s already had the résumé and the personality to lead, but he might have been holding back just a little bit out of respect to veterans. Julius Peppers, who had the résumé, but didn’t want to lead, and Chris Harris, who wanted to lead, but didn’t really have the résumé, are gone now. No matter what happens at quarterback, the Panthers already have their leader. This is Beason’s team.
Some final thoughts and observations on Carolina’s minicamp now that I’m back home.

First, an update, out of John Fox’s wrap-up comments. This one’s interesting. Fox talked about the decision to trade safety Chris Harris and said the team’s budget had something to do with the move. In other words, it had a lot to do with the trade and probably prompted it. Consider this another sign that general manager Marty Hurney is probably steering this boat more than ever. Decisions are being made with a possible 2011 lockout in mind and the long-term future a big part of every decision. Yes, we all know Fox is on the hot seat as he heads into the final year of his contract. But I’m not so sure Hurney falls into that category in the eyes of owner Jerry Richardson.

I thought cornerback Captain Munnerlyn looked pretty good out there, running with the first-team defense. He was in there because starter Richard Marshall is looking for a long term contract and didn’t attend. Marshall could be trying to force a trade and I could see the Panthers doing something like that, in part because of the reasons we talked about in the first item. But Marshall, a restricted free agent, isn’t really dealing from a position of strength. Yes, the Panthers could definitely use him this year, let Munnerlyn develop as a nickelback for another season and groom some of their young guys for bigger roles. But Munnerlyn might not be that far away from being ready to be a starter.

The single-best play I saw in all the sessions was by the other starting cornerback, Chris Gamble. He made a diving interception Saturday on a ball that looked like he had no chance to get. Very quietly, Gamble has been putting together a pretty nice career and I wouldn't be surprised to start seeing this guy get some more recognition.

I came away really impressed by what I saw out of Armanti Edwards, the rookie out of Appalachian State. He played quarterback in college, but the Panthers are going to use him as a receiver and a punt returner. This kid is pretty dynamic and can be an instant factor in the slot. Fox and coordinator Jeff Davidson haven’t used a slot receiver much in recent years. Might be time to change that and there could be other ways designed to get Edwards some touches. In fact, this kid could turn out to be what some people thought Tim Tebow could be. Plus, I think Edwards’ throwing motion might be better than Tebow’s.

Speaking of Tebow, Fox wasn’t sending out any smokescreens when he was singing the praises of the University of Florida product at the owners meeting. Fox really liked Tebow and so did others in the organization. They think he might become a good NFL quarterback, but they never were serious about using an early-round draft pick because they think he’ll take time to develop.

Obviously, quarterback Jimmy Clausen, who the Panthers believe is much more ready for the NFL than Tebow, was the talk of minicamp. I don’t want to declare this kid the next Joe Montana, and I don’t want to declare him the next Ryan Leaf. It was one minicamp and you really can’t tell much from that. But the kid can throw the ball and he seemed to be interacting quite nicely with his new teammates and saying all of the right things to the media. The rest of the offseason and training camp will determine if Clausen's ready to start ahead of Matt Moore. Speaking of Moore, I didn't see anything bad out of him in the minicamp, but I didn't see anything spectacular.

One final thought: Receiver Steve Smith kept saying throughout the weekend that change can be good. I don’t always agree with everything Smith says or does, but I’m going to agree with him strongly on this one. Yes, there are a lot of questions to be answered by a lot of young players, but I walked away thinking the Panthers might have the ingredients to become a pretty good team.

Previewing Panthers' minicamp

April, 28, 2010
I'll be heading to Charlotte for this weekend's minicamp with the Panthers. It's going to be a little bit of a strange atmosphere up there because, for a change, the Panthers won't be the biggest story in Charlotte.

[+] EnlargeJimmy Clausen
Matt Cashore/US PresswireHow Jimmy Clausen fits in with teammates could have a bearing on the QB competition in Charlotte.
Tiger Woods is in town. He's playing in a pro-am today that also features Carolina coach John Fox, who by all accounts, can swing the sticks pretty well. But I still think Jimmy Clausen's going to get his share of attention this weekend.

Here are five things I'll be paying particular attention to at Carolina's minicamp:

1. Clausen. Although he fell to the second round, Clausen's still the biggest-name quarterback to come to the Panthers since Chris Weinke. All right, that's not exactly a flattering comparison. But Clausen comes with a lot of hype and it won't just be the media watching his every move. If this guy's going to have a shot to beat out Matt Moore from the start, he's going to have to fit in the locker room. Clausen's got a reputation for being selfish. Moore's very well liked in that locker room. Besides showing passing skills, Clausen needs to show some humility.

2. Jon Beason. This guy's been a leader since about the second game of his rookie year. It just comes naturally to Beason. But I'm expecting to see him step forward even more and officially claim this team as his own. Julius Peppers never was a leader, but some people were hesitant to do anything that might give the appearance of stepping on his toes. Safety Chris Harris, who was traded to Chicago on Tuesday, was a bit of a vocal leader on the defense, even if he wasn't the best player. Now, it's clear, Beason is the best player on the defense and a vocal leader. He's free to lead with everything he's got. It's his team and his time.

3. The wide receivers beyond Steve Smith. I'm sure we'll get some of the same old talk about how this will be the year Dwayne Jarrett finally breaks out. It could happen. But the Panthers aren't counting on that. That's why they drafted Brandon LaFell and Armanti Edwards. It's going to be hard to judge their readiness in a three-day minicamp, but I'm hoping Fox breaks his tradition of bringing rookie receivers along slowly. He needs to take a chance and turn these guys loose from the start.

4. The competition at strongside linebacker. The departure of former starter Na'il Diggs really wasn't that big a deal. He was pretty ordinary. But the Panthers are having an open competition to replace him. They've got James Anderson, Dan Connor, rookie Eric Norwood and Jamar Williams, who came over in the Harris trade. They're going to throw them all out there and see who rises up.

5. The defensive ends. Peppers is gone and someone's got to step up. I've only seen quick glimpses of Everette Brown in games last season and last year's training camp. Brown is the guy the Panthers drafted last year to eventually replace Peppers. Now is the time for him to step up.
The much-anticipated trade of Carolina safety Chris Harris to Chicago for linebacker Jamar Williams now is a done deal, John Clayton reports.

Consider this another step in Carolina’s youth movement. Harris had been a solid safety since arriving in Carolina in 2007 (interestingly, that happened via a trade with Chicago). But the Panthers are getting younger everywhere and they’ve got some young safety options with Charles Godfrey, Sherrod Martin and rookie Jordan Pugh.

In Williams, a backup to Lance Briggs in Chicago, they add a linebacker who is only 25 and fits the youth movement. Although the Panthers have an opening on the strong side with the departure of veteran Na’il Diggs, they want to see James Anderson, Dan Connor and rookie Eric Norwood compete at that spot. Williams could move over there if the Panthers don’t think they’ve found a starter. But it’s more likely he’ll stay on the weak side and be a backup to Thomas Davis, who is coming back from injury.

In related news, Carolina public relations guru Charlie Dayton now is in the market to add someone to announce Panthers' news before it's official, now that Harris and his Twitter account are out of Charlotte.

Harris deal is not done

April, 27, 2010
Here’s the latest on the trade Carolina safety Chris Harris announced on his Twitter account earlier. The deal is not done.

Yes, it probably will happen and various media outlets are reporting it’s for Chicago linebacker Jamar Williams. But all that’s certain at this time, according to a league source, is that the two sides are talking and trying to put the finishing touches on this one.
Carolina safety Chris Harris, who has been known to keep the world aware of his life on his Twitter account (ChrisHarrisNFL), has just announced he’s being traded to the Chicago Bears.

I’ve got calls into the Panthers for confirmation, but we’ve got no reason to doubt Harris’ tweet. He was accurately announcing Carolina’s personnel moves earlier in the offseason, before the public relations office could do it.

We’re not sure what the compensation is and we’ll work on getting that. A bit surprising because Harris has been a very solid performer since joining Carolina in a trade from Chicago. But the Panthers have some young safeties in Charles Godfrey and they just drafted Jordan Pugh. I’ll be back with more details when I get them.

Hoover release now official

March, 8, 2010
As we first heard from Carolina safety/media relations assistant Chris Harris earlier Monday, the Panthers have cut veteran fullback Brad Hoover. The team, not Harris, just sent out the official announcement.

“Brad has been here since the day I arrived in Carolina," coach John Fox said. “When things were difficult, he was a leader and someone both the players and coaches knew would always be accountable. On the field, he was the ultimate competitor and set a physical tone in both his style of play and attitude."

Hoover played all 16 games in seven of his 10 seasons in Carolina. He played in 152 games for the Panthers, putting him behind only John Kasay (204) and Muhsin Muhammad (154).

A fan favorite out of Western Carolina, Hoover’s most memorable game came in his rookie season when injuries force him to take over at tailback in a "Monday Night Football" game against Green Bay. Hoover responded with a career-best 117 yards on 24 carries and prompted the line “Nice move by the Hoov" from Dennis Miller.



Sunday, 1/25