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NFL Notebook: Hackett to step in

Associated Press
The NFL notebook …
SPARTANBURG, S.C. ó After four injury-filled seasons as part of a crowded group of receivers in Seattle, D.J. Hackett came to Carolina with the promise of more playing time.
One training-camp punch likely left Hackett the Panthers’ opening-day starter ó if he can stay healthy.
Steve Smith’s attack of cornerback Ken Lucas in practice last week changed the dynamic of camp. Lucas suffered a broken nose that will require surgery, Smith was suspended for the first two regular-season games, and Hackett emerged as Smith’s likely replacement in Week 1 at San Diego.
“I don’t think it’ll be that big of a difference for me,” Hackett said of filling in for the Panthers’ top receiver. “I’ll still be doing the same position. We’ll just have one less playmaker on the field.”
BEARS-CHIEFS
CHICAGO ó There was no coin toss this time.
The Chicago Bears simply named Kyle Orton the starter for the preseason opener against the Kansas City Chiefs tonight. Finding a winner in his derby with Rex Grossman will take more time, though.
“In a perfect world, before the regular season starts,” coach Lovie Smith said.
Of course, the Bears’ world is far from perfect at the moment after a 7-9 season. The same goes for the Chiefs, who went 4-12 last year and, like Chicago, have some issues at quarterback.
Starter Brodie Croyle is unproven and the rotation isn’t set. Tyler Thigpen, who was coached by former Catawba mentor David Bennett at Coastal Carolina, and Damon Huard are behind him for now.
PACMAN
OXNARD, Calif. ó When it comes to Adam “Pacman” Jones’ status, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is treading lightly.
The still-suspended cornerback can play in the preseason for the Dallas Cowboys, who open Saturday night at San Diego. But the team still doesn’t know when it will find out if he will be fully reinstated by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for the regular season.
“That’s at (Goodell’s) discretion, and I don’t want to do or say anything that would imply that I’m getting anxious or pushy about it,” Jerry Jones said Wednesday.
Goodell has said only that a decision on “Pacman” would come before the regular season, and could come as late as the week of the Cowboys’ opener Sept. 7 at Cleveland.
BENGALS
GEORGETOWN, Ky. ó Linebacker Keith Rivers ended his contract holdout with the Cincinnati Bengals late Tuesday night, ending an impasse that made him to miss nine days of training camp.

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