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Safety Mitchell doubtful for season opener

Posted Sep 6, 2013

CHARLOTTE – With strong safety Mike Mitchell doubtful because of a calf injury, recently signed free agent Quintin Mikell could start for the Panthers on opening day against the Seahawks.

"Yes, if Mike Mithcell doesn't make a nice turnaround in the next day and a half," head coach Ron Rivera said.

Rivera added that the team has confidence in Mikell's ability to step in on short notice "because he has been around and because of the guys around him."

"Quintin has done a nice job," Rivera said. "He's a savvy veteran, a smart guy who has been in a system similar to this. We expect him to do things the right way. I'm excited to have him out there."

Starting defensive tackle Dwan Edwards (thigh) is questionable and Colin Cole – who last played a regular season game as a member of the Seahawks in 2010 – would start in his place.

"Cole will be first man up, and then KK (Kawann Short) will be the rotation guy," Rivera said. "And then you have Greg Hardy. If you have to you can put Greg inside like we did last year. If (Wes) Horton is up, he's another guy that played some three-technique for us during the preseason."

Rookie running back Kenjon Barner (foot) and cornerback James Dockery (thumb) are the only players ruled out.

Left guard Amini Silatolu and wide receiver Domenik Hixon are both questionable with hamstring injuries. Linebacker Jon Beason (knee), tight end Ben Hartsock (foot) and fullback Mike Tolbert (hamstring) are all probable.