CHARLOTTE -- There's a vandal on the loose in the Carolina Panthers' locker room.
Actually, there are a number of them, but some impromptu artwork has helped keep the atmosphere light recently, as players try to figure out who's responsible for giving them a makeover.
Maybe it's humor befitting middle school, but after last week's 27-3 beating, the Panthers are trying to find laughs wherever they can.
In each player's locker, there's a plaque with his picture and a list of career accomplishments. Some mystery artists have taken to personalizing the photos of teammates, using Sharpies to add crazy haircuts, glasses, missing teeth, the usual.
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Someone got veteran guard Keydrick Vincent early, adding a long, flowing mane of Jheri curls to his bald head.
"Hey, I think I look good with a lot of hair, I've been losing mine," Vincent said.
Backup quarterback Matt Moore's photo now includes a cowboy hat and a long handlebar mustache. Left guard Travelle Wharton got the sideways wedge of hair known as "the Gumby," back in the day.
Lineman Geoff Hangartner got a pair of square glasses drawn over his mug, making him look like your high school history teacher or an insurance agent.
Nick Goings shook his head when asked about the 70s-era pompadour and soul patch he's now sporting. "I don't know what to call that," Goings said. "I don't know who's doing it, but sometimes you need to be able to laugh."
There are several theories as to who's responsible. Since the customizations began in the corner of the locker room populated by the blockers, many suggest Hangartner, Vincent or center Ryan Kalil could be the culprit. Quarterback Jake Delhomme, whose plaque is strangely clean, has also been named as a suspect. Fullback Brad Hoover's another popular guess.
One player, who requested anonymity, copped to several of the drawings. "Who me?" he said with a laugh. "Why would anyone think I'd do a thing like that?"
• HARD TO COMPARE: Saints running back Reggie Bush has shown his dynamic potential this year, leading the league with eight total touchdowns. Three have come on returns, three receiving and two rushing.
While he might never be the every-down running back some were thinking he'd blossom into, the bottom line is he's a playmaker whenever he gets the ball in his hands. In many respects, he's probably more comparable to early Steve Smith, who made the Pro Bowl as a return man long before he did for his receiving skills.
Asked last week if he thought that was a fair analogy, Smith laughed.
"Not really, because Reggie gets to play offense," he said. "I wasn't allowed to play offense."
• LUCKY ESCAPE: Recent addition Kenny Moore was probably lucky to get to the Panthers when he did.
Moore was Detroit's fifth-round pick this year, but the Lions stashed him on the practice squad because they kept just four wideouts on their active roster to begin the year. They cleared a spot last week when they traded Roy Williams to Dallas. So if the Panthers hadn't signed him two weeks ago when Ryne Robinson was put on injured reserve, the winless Lions might have called him up to fill out the roster.
"That hadn't run through my mind at all," Moore said. "A couple guys here mentioned it, but I hadn't thought about it. I'm here for a reason. God placed me here, and I can't look back. I'm not looking back at all."
He probably shouldn't, though he did say he called Williams this week: "Just to say congratulations on the trade."
• FORGET ABOUT IT: Because of the John Fox-instituted 24-hour rule, players insist last week's savage beating was out of their minds when they came into work Wednesday.
Tackle Jeremy Bridges showed the application of the rule when asked if they needed to get the bad taste out of their mouth from last week's game.
"What bad taste?" he replied quickly. "Forgot about it. Learn from it. You learn from it on Monday, watch tape, get your chewing, take it like a man, take it with a grain of salt and move on. This is the NFL, it's too short to dwell on the losses."