CHARLOTTE -- The third season is often when a NFL wide receiver blossoms after two years of gestation. But for Dwayne Jarrett, the blooming has been slow to come.
He's still looking for his first career touchdown. He's been held without a catch in five of the 12 games in which he's played so far this season. Then came the word Jarrett received last week: for the first time this season, he would be inactive not because of injury, but so others could play.
"I think it was a matter of giving some other guys an opportunity, which is the case with every position every week," Jarrett said. "Some guys looked like they were showing some good work, and (we) wanted to give them an opportunity."
"(The coaches) told me basically it's just an evaluation process that they're going through," Jarrett said. "Towards the end of the season, it's pretty much looking at which guys are going to be kept and which will be left."
Jarrett spoke pragmatically about the situation Wednesday, but acknowledged his frustration with it and his performance this year: just 12 catches for 128 yards. Those figures are career highs, but they're far from what the 2007 second-round pick expected for his third year, contributing to his frustration.
"I'd lie if I said I wasn't (frustrated)," he said. "It's part of the game. Some players have to go through it, some players don't. I'm just being patient. That's all I can do."
Jarrett can sense his progress on the practice field, referring to his skill set as "night and day" from where it was when he first arrived in Charlotte, thanks to the influence of
But that growth also leaves him somewhat perplexed that it hasn't translated to game-time success.
"Yes, especially when you're getting compliments from the coaches," Jarrett said. "That's always a good thing to hear the coach say, 'You did a good job' here or there; it's not just you being biased (about one's own skill level) or anything."
Jarrett acknowledges that his situation would have been hard for him to believe three years ago when he declared early entry for the 2007 NFL Draft.
"But at the same time, I'm blessed. I'm not about me; I'm about the team. Whatever the team needs, that's what I'm willing to do," Jarrett said. "Of course you always want to do well as an individual, but at the same time, you can't control the outcome; you can only control what you do, and that's what I've been doing.
"When I'm out there, I just try to make sure I make a play if I get a chance -- whatever it is, whether it's a block or a catch."
DELHOMME STILL SIDELINED: Another week began with
"It's day-to-day, and each day we'll evaluate it," Fox said.
Delhomme has not practiced since breaking a finger on his throwing hand late in a Nov. 30 loss to the New York Jets.
WHARTON DEALS WITH AN IMPOSTOR: At times this year, football has been the last thing on offensive lineman
"For myself, I try to go home and stay out of (tricky) spots, and you've got somebody doing this," Wharton said. "It's your name. It's something you work hard to keep clean. You have somebody doing this, it's shocking, and you feel violated."
The investigation into the case by NFL Security and the police departments of Charlotte-Mecklenburg and Pineville is "ongoing," said Panthers director of security Gene Brown, who added that the perpetrator has been identified, but has not yet been arrested.
Player impostors are an all-too-frequent problem around the league. Perhaps the most famous case, in 2005, involved a man claiming to be Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and some of his then-teammates.
Wharton isn't the only Panther to face this situation; Brown said a claimed to be safety
"He was in bars and restaurants soliciting money, offering people tickets to games, postgame visits to the locker room, and he was an impostor, and Charles knew absolutely nothing about it," Brown said.
"Our players don't raise money that way, and people just need to be very cautious when approached."
Added Wharton: "If somebody approaches you, do your research on it. Don't just take their word ... If you see me out, question me; I don't care. Just be cautious for people out there doing this kind of thing."
If you see anyone purporting to be a Panthers player and asking for money, Brown urges you to call him or the Panthers organization.
SPLIT SECONDS: Quarterback