CHARLOTTE – Panthers rookie wide receiver Trent Guy was fairly certain that teammate Mike Goodson's kickoff return for a touchdown Saturday night was the franchise's first since one by Rod Smart.
How did Guy remember that it had been seven years since the Panthers last returned a kickoff for a score?
"Because," Guy said, "I'm a Carolina fan."
After his debut, the Panthers might become a Trent Guy fan.
Guy, an undrafted free agent out of Louisville who starred at West Charlotte High School, didn't play in the Panthers' first two preseason games because of a hamstring injury, but with him healthy enough to go, the Panthers gave Guy the green light to put his stamp on the return units.
He wasn't perfect by any stretch, but he was promising, one week after the Panthers turned the ball over three times in punt return situations.
Guy misjudged two of the first three punts that came his way but didn't create turnovers. Later, he took off on a nifty 14-yard punt return (negated by a penalty well away from his return), and he opened the second half with a 37-yard kickoff return.
"I kind of struggled early on judging the ball, but I bounced back from that with a pretty good return where my teammates got some great blocks," Guy said. "Then kickoff-return wise, I came out in the second half and got a pretty good return on that. Guys got some good blocks on that and we got positive yardage.
"I felt like I did well."
Guy sat out much of the second half because of tightness in his hamstring, but he said it wasn't serious. He knows he needs to be on the field for the preseason finale Thursday night at Pittsburgh.
"He's a guy we saw early in camp and then unfortunately was injured," head coach John Fox said. "I thought he did a decent job tonight."
Guy, a 5-8, 171-pound speedster, was more of a weapon at Louisville on special teams than he was at receiver. Over his college career, he had five touchdowns on offense and five touchdowns on special teams.
"I know that for myself, special teams is going to be the way I get on this team," Guy said. "I've had injuries and missed the first two games, but they told me I would get a chance tonight to show what I could do.
"I tried to make the best of my opportunity, and I think I did, though I think I can be better."
INJURIES: In addition to Guy's hamstring, Mike Goodson left after his kickoff return because of dehydration. Also, wide receiver Wallace Wright and running back Tyrell Sutton left with shoulder injuries.
INACTIVES: Wide receiver Steve Smith and running back Jonathan Stewart didn't make their preseason debuts. Also out of action were safeties C.J. Wilson and Aaron Francisco, along with defensive ends Tyler Brayton and Hilee Taylor. Linebacker Thomas Davis and offensive lineman Jeff Otah remain on the physically unable to perform list.
WHISTLE BLOWERS: Saturday's game was one of four in which the NFL will utilize an eighth on-field official, a "deep judge" in the defensive backfield. The deep judge won't be used during the 2010 regular season but will be evaluated by the NFL Competition Committee.