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Carolina Panthers

Rivera's remarks: Kickoff returners

Comments from Carolina Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera.

On injuries: Mike Goodson missed a couple of days (this week). He was actually running a fever and all that good stuff. So he's feeling better. Geoff (Hangartner) and Jeff (Otah) looked good. Chris (Gamble), with the head, he got his final clearance yesterday. And Jeremy (Shockey) got cleared as well. We're looking forward to having them on the field.

On if the Panthers will use another kick returner against New Orleans since Mike Goodson was ill and missed practice this week: Yes because of not having Mike around for the first few days. It will be Jordan Pugh and Kealoha Pilares. We'll probably decide tomorrow when we do our final walkthrough as to which of the two will be the first one up. It's a little different but exciting. We'll see how it goes.


On if he is eager to see rookie wide receiver Kealoha Pilares play after he was inactive the first three games: I am eager to see Kealoha. The unfortunate thing for him was he was making a lot of progress and doing real well until he twisted the ankle up pretty good. But now that we have him going, I'm excited to watch him. He had a little opportunity last week to be involved with special teams (punt coverage, punt return and kickoff coverage). He's got a nice quick burst, good first step and he does have some good top-end speed. Hopefully, if given an opportunity I think he might be able to do something for us.

On if he is considering someone other than Armanti Edwards to return punts: No. We're very happy with what we're getting right now. We've just got to give the kid a chance. We've got to make a block. The thing about Armanti - people want to see him have success right away. But people have to understand, this is his second season as a wide receiver - ever. So it's going to take some time and a little development. Quite honestly, with what we're getting from our receiving corps right now, it's hard for him to get the opportunities. The games have been close; we've had to keep people in; and with Brandon LaFell developing the way he is, we've got a good group right now. And the tight ends. For him, it's just a matter of time and opportunity.

On if he has confidence that kicker Olindo Mare can make long-range field goals: Without a doubt. I knew there was a little bit of wind that was there (on his 52-yard attempt at Chicago). I thought it was very makeable. But what was crazy was just as he lined up to kick it, I could see the flags start to come up. I said to myself, "I hope he can drive a good one." He hit a good one, too, and then all of a sudden you could see it at the last second just drop. You had a bad feeling and just hoped it was enough. But I've got a lot of confidence in his leg. I really do. That one was just unfortunate.

On signing Mare because he could kick field goals and handle kickoffs, freeing up a roster spot: Absolutely. Now instead of having to carry the extra kickoff guy, we got who we feel is a guy that can do both.

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