2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Panthers hope Wharton helps struggling O-line

By STEVE REED - AP Sports Writer
    2013-08-26 17:22

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Travelle Wharton could go from late-summer acquisition to opening day starter for the Carolina Panthers.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Monday last year's starting left guard Amini Silatolu ``more than likely'' will miss the Sept. 8 regular-season opener with a hamstring injury, opening an opportunity for Wharton to step in and start at his old position.

The 32-year-old Wharton, who started 99 games for the Panthers from 2004-11, re-signed with his former team on Sunday after injuries left the offensive line depleted.

``We've had a couple of guys get nicked up and it's important to have a veteran guy around,'' Rivera said. ``We went out and got a guy that knows our system and knows the players. I think that's important.''

Silatolu injured his hamstring in last week's win over the Ravens, while rookie draft pick Edmund Kugbila hasn't been able to stay on the field also because of a hamstring injury.

Earlier in the preseason, Carolina lost backup right tackle Bruce Campbell to a season-ending shoulder injury.

Wharton brings versatility and depth.

The 6-foot-4, 315-pound Wharton can play both guard and tackle positions. He played mostly at left guard during his tenure in Carolina and returned there for Monday's practice.

Wharton said he doesn't care where he plays - he's just happy to be back on the field.

He said he had several offers from other NFL teams, but chose Carolina so he could remain at home with his family.

He still lives in the same Charlotte neighborhood as close fiend Jordan Gross, the team's starting left tackle. For years the two men carpooled to work and they resumed that tradition on Monday.

``It's great, I only have to pay for half of the gas,'' Gross said.

Wharton said he could barely sleep Sunday night in anticipation of getting back on the field.

He was cut by Carolina after the 2011 season because he had a large salary cap number. He signed a free agent contract last spring with the Cincinnati Bengals.

However, he never played a regular season game for the Bengals, tearing the ACL in his right knee in the third play of the preseason. He was placed on injured reserve and the Bengals terminated his contract in July.

Wharton said the terminology of the Panthers offense has changed a little since 2011, but he said it's all coming back to him.

``The guys are helping me out, but there are things I'm remembering,'' Wharton said. ``I'm trying to get it down. I don't want to mess up. You don't want to be that guy to mess it up. I'm going to go back (in the film room) and study some more, go home and study some more and wake up tomorrow and study some more.''

Said Gross: ``Travelle is a guy you can bring in who knows the offense. He was already in and out with the first group today, so that to me was pretty impressive.''

Carolina's offensive line could use some help.

They've been the subject of criticism this preseason given the first-team offense has only scored one touchdown and the injuries haven't helped matters.

But Rivera doesn't think Carolina's offensive line will be its biggest weakness.

``I'm very pleased with them,'' Rivera said. ``We've had opportunities. If we correct those things and make those better we be as explosive as we've been.''

Gross agrees with his coach.

``It's not like I'm flipping out about it,'' Gross said. ``We played the Ravens last week and it had the feel of a real game. It's not like we were playing a high school team. So we've played Baltimore and Philadelphia, which has a good defense. I think that's a pretty good warm-up for Seattle.''

---

Online: AP NFL website www.pro32.ap.org

---

Follow Steve Reed on Twitter: http://twitter.com/SteveReedAP

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Deone BucannonJul 24 11:32a

Arizona Cardinals S Deone Bucannon was not dropped into the starting lineup during offseason workouts, as the team has faith in FS Tony Jefferson and FS Rashad Johnson. He [ More ]

Ray RiceJul 24 11:31a

Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice will be suspended for the first two games of the season, according to sources. The announcement is expected Thursday, July 24.

Blake BortlesJul 24 11:22a

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles' lower-body mechanics likely will be revised. Bortles' flaw has been over-reliance on his right arm when throwing; he doesn't use his legs enough. A [ More ]

Mikel LeshoureJul 24 11:14a

Detroit Lions RB Mikel Leshoure is currently believed to be the fourth tailback on the club behind RBs Reggie Bush, Joique Bell and Theo Riddick heading into training camp [ More ]

Justin BlackmonJul 24 10:53a

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon was arrested for possession of marijuana Wednesday, July 23, in Oklahoma.

Jordan PalmerJul 24 10:52a

Chicago Bears QB Jordan Palmer still has the first shot at winning the backup quarterback job, according to head coach Marc Trestman.

R. Griffin IIIJul 24 10:22a

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III's designed running plays might be 'few and far between,' according to head coach Jay Gruden. He still has the green light to scramble [ More ]

Daniel FellsJul 24 09:42a

New York Giants TE Daniel Fells has received the first snap in 11-on-11 drills during the team's two days in training camp. Kellen Davis and Adrien Robinson have [ More ]

Ahmad BradshawJul 24 08:33a

Indianapolis Colts RB Ahmad Bradshaw (neck) has been cleared to practice. Bradshaw is an RB4, but he could be worth more if Trent Richardson fails to produce again.

Roddy WhiteJul 24 08:33a

Atlanta Falcons WR Roddy White signed a four-year extension with the team that will keep him under team control for the next five years, according to sources.

Donald ThomasJul 24 08:33a

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (hip) and OG Donald Thomas (quadriceps, biceps) have been cleared to practice.

Josh GordonJul 24 08:23a

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon will have his appeal hearing for his one-year suspension Aug. 1.

Greg OlsenJul 24 01:43a

Carolina Panthers TE Greg Olsen said he is tired of hearing criticism about Carolina's new receiving corps, which is largely made up of journeymen and unproven commodities. Olsen added [ More ]

Aldon SmithJul 24 01:13a

San Francisco 49ers LB Aldon Smith is expected to meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in the near future, which likely would lead to a decision on any discipline for Smith.

Anthony BarrJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings LB Anthony Barr was with the team for just a few days during offseason workouts due to NFL rules. Head coach Mike Zimmer is eager to see [ More ]

Sharrif FloydJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings DT Sharrif Floyd had a good offseason, but head coach Mike Zimmer thinks the defensive tackle is trying to be too fine. 'Sharrif has a lot of [ More ]

C. PattersonJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson will remain on kickoff returns despite an expanded role in the offense this season. 'We want our best players to get their hands on [ More ]

Montell OwensJul 23 11:23p

Detroit Lions FB Montell Owens has company, as the team will employ a more traditional fullback in the offense. They signed FB Jed Collins for the role. Owens is [ More ]

Harrison SmithJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings safeties Jamarca Sanford and Andrew Sendejo will be battling during training camp and the preseason for the starting job opposite FS Harrison Smith. 'That will be interesting, [ More ]

Matt CasselJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings QBs Teddy Bridgewater and Matt Cassel saw a majority of the snaps during spring workouts, but QB Christian Ponder has a chance to start, and head coach [ More ]

Chad GreenwayJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings LB Chad Greenway could be used as the starting middle linebacker, according to head coach Mike Zimmer. 'It's a possibility. We keep working him in there. We're [ More ]

Troy NiklasJul 23 10:23p

Arizona Cardinals TE Troy Niklas (hand) has been cleared to participate in training camp, and was working Wednesday, July 23.

Dan WilliamsJul 23 10:23p

Arizona Cardinals NT Dan Williams will open training camp as the team's starting nose tackle with NT Alameda Ta'amu (knee) on the Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) list.

Johnny ManzielJul 23 10:23p

Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine thinks QB Johnny Manziel needs to increase dedication to earn the starting job. 'I think he knows that in order to compete well, [ More ]

Theo RiddickJul 23 10:23p

Detroit Lions RB Theo Riddick has the chance to break into the rotation at tailback, and he has drawn considerable praise from his teammates and coaches for his development [ More ]

Joique BellJul 23 10:23p

Detroit Lions RB Joique Bell (nee) missed most of the offseason due to a knee injury, although he has said his condition is minor and he expects to be [ More ]

Jed CollinsJul 23 10:23p

The Detroit Lions are re-incorporating the traditional fullback into their new offensive scheme this season, and that's why they went out and signed FB Jed Collins.

Cheta OzougwuJul 23 07:23p

New Orleans Saints DE Cheta Ozougwu (undisclosed) cleared waivers and was transferred to the Saints' Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, July 23.

Billy WinnJul 23 06:53p

The Cleveland Browns placed OL Chris Faulk (undisclosed), DE Billy Winn (undisclosed) and LB Tank Carder (undisclosed) on the non-football injury list Wednesday, July 23.

Kyle OrtonJul 23 06:33p

Free-agent QB Kyle Orton (Cowboys) does not want to retire and wants to play in 2014, according to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

Conner VernonJul 23 06:23p

The Cleveland Browns placed CB Royce Adams, LB Brandon Magee and WR Conner Vernon on the no-recall waivers list Wednesday, July 23.

Terrance WestJul 23 06:23p

Updating a previous report, Cleveland Browns RB Terrance West (undisclosed) said on his Twitter page that he passed his conditioning test and people need to 'stop making up your [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group