NFL: Panthers Notebook

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Associated Press
CHARLOTTE ó Brett Basanez gets accused by his Carolina Panthers teammates of being the teacher’s pet around the coaches.
He’s one of the first to arrive each morning for meetings and among the last to leave each afternoon after practice. Few players watch more film, and Basanez always seems to have a smile on his face.
But after spending his rookie year mostly on the practice squad and last year on injured reserve, Basanez faces a critical week.
The preseason finale is Thursday at Pittsburgh. Final cuts are two days later. The third-string Basanez could play the entire second half against the Steelers, and how he performs could determine if the Panthers keep two or three quarterbacks.
“This is my third year here, I feel like a Panther,” Basanez said. “I feel like part of the family. I love the people here. My wife and I moved here.”
But with Jake Delhomme and backup Matt Moore locked into the top two spots, Basanez’s future is uncertain.
The Panthers kept only two QBs in 2006, and had only two after final cuts last year until they picked up the undrafted rookie Moore off waivers from Dallas. With the Panthers likely keeping Rhys Lloyd as a kickoff specialist, the extra roster spot will have to come from somewhere.
“We’re not really pretty set on anything,” coach John Fox said.
Basanez, who went undrafted out of Northwestern, was cut by Carolina as a rookie in 2006. But the Panthers, intrigued by his potential, signed him to the practice squad.
A torn ligament in his right wrist suffered in a preseason game last year cost him a tremendous opportunity. With Delhomme and backup David Carr getting hurt, Basanez was walking around in a cast when he likely would have gotten the call instead of 44-year-old Vinny Testaverde and Moore late in the season.
But Basanez, ever the optimist, believes being around the ancient Testaverde for a couple of months has made him better prepared.
“Just knowledge. And I think the thing I need to keep reminding myself is with knowledge comes simplicity,” Basanez said.

NOTES: The Panthers addressed their lack of depth at receiver by signing Samie Parker, a day after he was let go by Denver. Parker caught 110 passes in four seasons in Kansas City before signing with Denver in the offseason. … Rookie WR Sean Bailey, signed a week ago, was waived to make room on the 75-man roster.