CHARLOTTE -- The Carolina Panthers had big plans for wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett when they chose him in the second round of this year's draft.
But barring a last-minute rash of injuries or illnesses, it's highly unlikely Jarrett will even be active for today's game at St. Louis.
Each team has to deactivate eight players (including a third quarterback) before the game, and several factors point to Jarrett being one of them.
The Panthers generally keep just four receivers active, doing so each of the last four openers. Steve Smith, Keary Colbert and Drew Carter are the first three, and rookie returner Ryne Robinson will be up also, since he's the only punt returner left.
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But with injuries in the secondary and just eight offensive linemen on the 53-man roster, the Panthers probably won't be able to afford to give Jarrett a uniform, particularly since he's not a factor on special teams.
Former Panthers receiver Keyshawn Johnson said last week that he got a recent call from Jarrett, his fellow Southern Cal product, and said he figured things were pointing in that direction.
"When he called me, I could sense that things were not OK," Johnson said.
Jarrett drew solid reviews early for his soft hands, but a hamstring injury cost him time in training camp, and he seems like he's still trying to catch up.
• GASSING UP: Panthers linebacker Dan Morgan admitted after playing a quarter of his only preseason game that he was "gassed," and he hopes getting those jitters out against the Patriots helps him today.
He knows he's expected to put in a full day's work -- for the first time since last year's concussion-related early exit -- and he's been working himself up to go a whole game.
"You know, hopefully I feel good," Morgan said when asked about his return. "I've been working hard, and any time it's the first game, I think anybody's going to be pretty gassed, playing as many plays as we're going to play. I'm not too concerned about it, you get tired through the course of the game and you've just got to play through it."
• FORGET ABOUT IT: Sure, the last time the Panthers went to the Edward Jones Dome, wide receiver Steve Smith made one of the most memorable plays in franchise and perhaps playoff history.
His 69-yard, double-overtime touchdown sealed the Panthers' 29-23 win on Jan. 10, 2004, sending them to the NFC Championship Game. The play was called X-Clown, a quick slant that got him singled up on helpless Rams safety Jason Sehorn.
"I knew when we lined up he was going to get the ball," quarterback Jake Delhomme said. "Steve did what Steve does."
What he didn't want to do was talk about it much.
"It's over," Smith said after being asked about it twice. "It was a good play. It was a great play. But you know, I don't want to take it away. ... I just feel like whether that was a good play or you screw up, you've got to move on. It's great and that's something you talk about after the season. But the beginning of the season to be talking about it, half the people who were on that team aren't here anymore. That takes some of the thunder out of it."