CHARLOTTE – The Carolina Panthers have brought back a familiar name to strengthen the offensive line, signing free agent Travelle Wharton on Sunday.
Wharton played the first eight seasons (2004-11) of his NFL career with the Panthers after being selected by the team in the third round of the 2004 NFL Draft. Wharton signed with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2012 before suffering a knee injury and missing the season.
A University of South Carolina product and Fountain Inn, S.C. native, Wharton started all 99 games he played for the Panthers, seeing action at the guard and tackle positions.
Wharton became a starter in the sixth game of his rookie season and started 28 consecutive regular season games and three playoff games before missing the 2006 season with a knee injury suffered in the opening game. He missed seven games in 2010 with a toe injury but otherwise started in 62 of a possible 64 games from 2007 through 2011.
The addition of Wharton brings depth and experience to the offensive line. Rookie guard Edmund Kugbila has been unable to practice consistently due to a hamstring injury and the team recently waived/injured backup tackle Bruce Campbell, who suffered a rotator cuff injury in training camp.
Geoff Hangartner – initially projected to start at right guard – was released during training camp. Garry Williams has since been serving as the first team right guard.