Carolina Panthers

Family pride on the line against Steelers

CHARLOTTE -- There's not much on the line in Thursday's preseason finale except for a big Hawaiian dinner.

With the emphasis on 'big.'

Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Maake Kemoeatu might get a chance to square off against his brother, Pittsburgh guard Chris Kemoeatu, for the first time since the two were college teammates at Utah. Even then, Maake was a senior starter and Chris was a freshman, so there was a natural advantage.

"If he's running with the first group I'll probably get a shot to take a shot at him," Maake said with a grin. "If he's not, I'll stay there long enough to get a shot at him. We haven't got to play each other since college, so this will be a good chance to beat up on him without my mom being there."

Actually, their mother is flying in today for the game, but she might not be able to separate them on the off chance they do square off. Chris isn't starting for Pittsburgh but got some first-half snaps against Philadelphia last week.

Maake's probably only going to play a series or two, but said he planned to beg line coach Sal Sunseri for at least one shot at his younger sibling.

"We always got into it when we were kids," Maake said. "He wanted to be better than me, and I wanted to make sure he's not better than me. It'll be a good race.

"The winner buys the other guy dinner next time. It will be a pretty expensive dinner he's buying me when we get back to Hawaii."

Chris is listed at 6-foot-3 and 344 pounds. Maake's the big brother in more ways than chronological, listed at 6-5, 345. Both weights are probably a little generous, as there's almost certainly more than 700 pounds in motion if they do collide.

While the Panthers' run-stopper makes few waves, his brother is known as the mean one. Chris was suspended in college for kicking two opponents in the head in a short span, and had to take anger-management classes.

"Don't be surprised if a fight breaks out out there," Maake said. "My mom is supposed to be in town to watch the game. She told me not to beat up on my brother too much."

• SALLEY STILL OUT: Presumed starting safety Nate Salley didn't practice Monday because of problems with his right knee, which has bothered him since landing awkwardly on it Aug. 1.

Details are scarce, but it's a significant concern since that's the Panthers' thinnest position.

Salley hasn't played in the preseason and only returned to regular practice around the end of camp.

The Panthers will continue to start Chris Harris and Deke Cooper, as they have the entire preseason.

• BRIDGES PLEADS: Guard Jeremy Bridges practiced while his attorney entered a not guilty plea on the assault charges against him.

Bridges was arrested the day before training camp for allegedly waving a gun at a female employee of a strip club. The Panthers suspended him without pay for the first two regular-season games.

Bridges' trial date was set for Oct. 2.

• EXTRA POINTS: Fox said quarterback Jake Delhomme was given the day off for the most part. Fox said he had "a little twitch" in his side last week.

"Really, there was not much to yesterday," Fox said. "We rested him today, and we'll move from there.

The break wasn't that big a deal, since they need to get rookie Dalton Bell ready for Thursday, when he'll likely play the entire second half. ... Running back Eric Shelton (hip pointer) returned to practice, leaving fullback Steven Jackson and defensive end Rondell Biggs as the only players working on the side. ... The Panthers have to remove four more players from the roster by 4 p.m. today to get to the 75-man roster limit. Final cuts to 53 will come this weekend.