CHARLOTTE - The Panthers completed the difficult task Saturday of reducing their roster to 53 players in advance of the regular season, cutting 24 players in the process.
In addition, Carolina placed offensive lineman
Hogan, a rookie out of West Virginia recovering from a knee injury, still could play this season but would not be eligible to return until the team's seventh game at the earliest.
Saturday's cuts included running back Tyrell Sutton, who spent the past two seasons with the Panthers. Defensive tackle Nick Hayden, who started 10 games in 2011, and fellow defensive tackle Corvey Irvin – who shined early in training camp – also were among the casualties.
In the heated race for roster spots at wide receiver, special teams standouts Wallace Wright and Charly Martin didn't make the cut.
Cuts also included linebacker Lawrence Wilson, a rookie out of Connecticut drafted in the sixth round. Wilson was the lone 2011 Panthers' draft pick among eight to be waived, though two others aren't on the 53-man roster. Hogan (a fourth-rounder) was put on the PUP list, and offensive lineman
Head coach Ron Rivera, facing the task of telling players that they hadn't made the team for the first time in his coaching career, spoke earlier in the week about how he planned to handle it.
"We'll get an opportunity to visit with them, talk with them, listen to them a little bit, and give them a little advice," Rivera said. "I went through it (as a player), and it's not easy. For nine seasons, I always felt like people are always on eggshells.
"Now as a head coach, it is a little bit different because you're the guy that's actually going to talk to them and look them in the eye and say, ‘Hey, look, this is the way it is.' It's difficult, it really is."
|WR||Wallace Wright||5||North Carolina|
|OT||Jacob Bender||3||Nicholls State|
|CB||Kendric Burney||R||North Caorlina|
|DE||Ugo Chinasa||R||Oklahoma State|
|S||Michael Greco||1||Central Florida|
|CB||Chevis Jackson||4||Louisiana State|
|WR||Charly Martin||3||West Texas A&M|
|DT||DelJuan Robinson||3||Mississippi State|
|LB||Sean Ware||1||New Hampshire|
|WR||Jamorris Warren||R||Central Missouri|
|CB||Brandon Hogan||R||West Virginia|
In addition to the five drafted rookies that made the roster – quarterback
Those who made it have reason to celebrate but can't afford to rest on their laurels. Across the NFL, more than 800 players have been cut over the last two days, and the Panthers could consider acquiring a few of them Sunday and Monday, in addition to signing an eight-man practice squad.
"We have to look at everything, not just our 53 but our practice squad players as well and what potentially could be out there," Rivera said Thursday. "We will most certainly have to be diligent as the waiver wires hit, and in our selecting process we will have to be very efficient."
The positions that seem least settled are defensive tackle, cornerback and offensive line.
The Panthers kept just three defensive tackles – Fua, McClain and second-year pro
The Panthers did keep a typical number of offensive linemen (nine), but three are rookies, leaving them with little experienced depth behind the starters.