CHARLOTTE -- Panthers wide receiver D.J. Hackett might still be an unknown commodity, but those around him still sound confident in his ability to help the team.
Quarterback Jake Delhomme said Tuesday he can tell the free agent pickup is nearing a return, and looks forward to throwing him some passes.
That would be nice, since he's going to be needed the first two weeks of the season, while Steve Smith's suspended and Muhsin Muhammad doesn't have much experienced help beyond Dwayne Jarrett.
Hackett hasn't practiced since Aug. 6 and only finished 10 practices since the start of camp because of knee swelling and a toe problem. He's done some running on the side the last two days, which Delhomme took as a positive sign.
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"I saw him out there yesterday and that is the first step," Delhomme said. "Mentally, I think he will be just fine. He's a pretty sharp guy. He picks up stuff pretty quick and the questions he asks in meetings, you can tell he has an understanding of what is going on."
The chemistry part of the equation is still unclear, but Delhomme said that can be overstated, and that Hackett's experience (33 games in four years in Seattle) helps.
"Somewhat, but he's a veteran," Delhomme said when asked if Hackett's absence was a concern. "I always look back to the '03 season (when he took over as the starter at halftime of the season opener) and I don't know how many plays I ran with Moose and Steve and Ricky Proehl until that halftime of the first game. I didn't run many plays with those guys.
• ROSTER MOVE: The Panthers shuffled their receiving corps, in what's unlikely to be the final move at the position in the coming days.
They signed former Kansas City wideout Samie Parker, who was cut Monday by Denver (meaning he was deemed less valuable than Panthers' cast-off Keary Colbert).
The fifth-year receiver caught 101 passes the last three years with Kansas City, but never gained traction in Denver. He has speed, and though he's never returned a kick or a punt at the NFL level, they think he has that ability.
The 5-11, 185-pound Parker was originally a fourth-round pick by the Chiefs out of Oregon. In his career, he has 110 catches for 1,529 yards (13.9 per) and seven touchdowns.
Coach John Fox said they team "probably wouldn't have brought him in if we didn't think (he could make the team). We'll bring him in, take a look and see how he adapts."
They released former Georgia wide receiver Sean Bailey, who was signed last Wednesday.
• EXTRA POINTS: Fox is good at many things, but offering global opinions does not make the list. He laughed while not answering a question as to whether shortening the preseason would limit injuries across the league.
"Not me, not my lane," he began.
"You hate to see injuries any time, whether it's preseason, regular season or offseason," he said. "But the reality is it's part of the game, and we've had our share and there are teams right now that are getting nicked by it. I think it's just something you deal with."