CHARLOTTE -- The Carolina Panthers claimed former third-round pick Charles Spencer off waivers from Houston on Wednesday. The Texans once thought he was going to be their left tackle of the future, but an injury two games into his career in 2006 left his future in doubt.
On a freak collision with running back Ron Dayne, Spencer suffered a fractured tibial plateau and cartilage damage. He was close to returning to practice this spring after missing two years, but the Texans grew tired of waiting and cut him Tuesday.
Whether the 26-year-old lasts in Charlotte will largely be determined Friday when he takes his physical with the Panthers upon reporting to training camp.
"He's a good football player," general manager Marty Hurney said Wednesday. "We liked him coming out, he's a strong guy, who moves well for someone his size. We'll see."
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The 6-foot-4, 337-pound Spencer represents the same kind of high-pound, low-risk move the Panthers made with acquisitions such as Keydrick Vincent, Toniu Fonoti and Milford Brown.
He was the 65th overall pick in the 2006 draft out of the University of Pittsburgh. He quickly won a starting job in camp, where the Texans were hoping he could protect former top pick David Carr. If he sticks with the Panthers, he'll make just $445,000 this year and $530,000 next year, though he'll cost the team nothing if they cut him or he doesn't pass a physical.
To make room for Spencer on the roster, the Panthers waived tackle Rueben Riley, who spent last year on the practice squad.