Godfrey picks big jersey to fill in No. 30

Darin GanttMay 3, 2008 

The Panthers' third-round draft pick, Charles Godfrey, talks with safeties coach Mike Gillhamer during the second day of the team's three-day minicamp.

RICK HAVNER • THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

CHARLOTTE -- Charles Godfrey was just selecting at random when he chose number 30. He had no idea he was picking up a torch, as well.

The Panthers' rookie safety took on a sizeable burden as well when he donned the shirt last worn by retired institution Mike Minter, and it didn't take long for people to let him know. He joked that having worn 13 at Iowa, his goal was just "to keep a 3 somwhere on me."

Teammates were first to let him know, but then came the fans, who called to him for autographs after his first minicamp as a professional player.

"You've got a high standard to live up to," called one, making sure Godfrey knew he wasn't just wearing any number.

"I have to do some research on this guy, because a lot of people have came up and told me about him," Godfrey said with a laugh when asked how much he knew about Minter, the Panthers' all-time leader in tackles and starts whom he was drafted to replace.

"I don't know much, but I am going to do some research. I like to know the history. (I heard he was) a great player, I have to live up to it, so I'm going to do that."

The Panthers can only hope he reaches such heights, on the field and off. But if nothing else, they're throwing the third-round pick into the deep end of the pool in an effort to start the process.

"He's a sharp guy," coach John Fox said Saturday. "We've thrown quite a few things at him here in a day and a half, and he seems to have picked it up fairly quickly."

They're working Godfrey with the starters at free safety, and not giving him any breaks as he's part of all the sub packages, as well. It's a lot to throw on a 22-year-old who's been playing cornerback the last two years, but Godfrey himself came here with high expectations.

"That was my whole motive coming in," Godfrey said. "I wanted to come in and take a starting spot, no matter where it was at. I prepared myself mentally to come in and be thrown into the fire. I didn't want to come in and sit back and say this is a learning period for me. No, I wanted to come in and take a starting spot, wherever it was, corner or safety."

Physically speaking, he's ready for the challenge. The 5-foot-11, 205-pound Godfrey was clocked in the high 4.3-second range in his 40-yard dashes, giving him the kind of range in the back of the defense the Panthers have lacked. They've gone through a revolving door of safeties opposite Chris Harris and Minter in recent years, and the common denominator has not been track speed.

• MOORE IS MOORE: Second-year quarterback Matt Moore turned in the play of the morning Saturday, rolling out and hitting Steve Smith with a deep ball. It was reminiscent of the kind of plays he made last year as the late-season starter, when he won two of his three chances.

That stint, and what he showed in practice last year, was enough to persuade the Panthers against signing a veteran backup this offseason, or investing a high pick in one as many speculated.

"You've got to kind of choose," Fox said. "Do you want an older veteran? Typically, monetarily that's what you end up with. Or do you develop a guy you think's worth developing. Really, not just Matt Moore's case, but Brett Basanez, he's a guy that showed some promise, unfortunately he got injured. We'll get a lot better look at that in game situation in the preseason.

"You kind of pick what you want to do, and we thought we were better off letting Matt Moore have those reps than a more experienced veteran, and try to develop him even furhter."

• SEEING RED AGAIN: Last fall, the Panthers abandoned the customary red "hands-off" jerseys which quarterbacks wore in practice. Elder statesman Vinny Testaverde went to Fox to get rid of them, Fox didn't mind, so the passers looked like the rest of the team for a few months.

Testaverde's basic beef with them was that they made quarterbacks appear soft, deserving of special treatment. They're running that risk now, donning the red jerseys once again.

Equipment manager Jackie Miles said the ultimate decision was up to Delhomme, and they might go back to wearing what everyone else wears during training camp and the regular season. But for now, with a full crop of rookies and new guys on hands, they broke out the reds again, just to make sure everyone knows touching quarterbacks in practice is a no-no.

• WAITING FOR THE CALL: Running back DeAngelo Williams was in the crowd for his alma mater's NCAA basketball title loss, and like many people, was wondering why Memphis couldn't get a foul call late.

"That one hurt me," Williams said. "I was in my seat trying to foul the guy when Kansas had the ball. I was like, 'Foul! Foul!' I would have got on the court, but the security guard was right there.

"I wanted to commit the foul myself, but if had run out there I figure it would have been like two technical foul shots, ..."

"That, and a set of handcuffs," Fox replied as he walked up on Williams' story.

• EXTRA POINTS: Defensive tackle Darwin Walker and offensive lineman Rueben Riley were added to the injured and inactive list Saturday with tight backs.

daringantt@carolina.rr.com

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