Carolina Panthers

Carr happy to be out of Houston

Former St. Louis linebacker Dexter Coakley moves in to tackle former Houston quarterback David Carr. Carr said he's happy to be out of Houston after being selected with the No. 1 overall pick in 2002.
Former St. Louis linebacker Dexter Coakley moves in to tackle former Houston quarterback David Carr. Carr said he's happy to be out of Houston after being selected with the No. 1 overall pick in 2002.

CHARLOTTE -- Since the day he walked in the door, Carolina Panthers backup quarterback David Carr has said all the polite and proper things about his time with the Houston Texans.

Wednesday, he opened up a bit from his previous stance, admitting he was glad to be gone from the franchise that made him the first overall pick in the 2002 draft.

Carr was asked if all the recent raves about Texans quarterback Matt Schaub bothered him, given his previous franchise status.

"It would if I was in a bad place," Carr replied. "If I wasn't on a winning team, or a team I didn't want to be on or a team I didn't choose to be on, probably. But to tell you the truth, I had my opportunity down there, and we had fun for five years.

"It was a situation that got so big, with the draft and everything that had happened in the last 15 months, I was happy to get out of there, to tell you the truth."

It was hardly inflammatory, but it did shine a little light on his feelings at being shoved aside in favor of an untested backup.

Texans coach Gary Kubiak called the decision to cut Carr "very difficult," but was also quick to praise Schaub. Carr knows that every plaudit his replacement gets is a back-handed slap at him, but he seems mostly at peace with his decision to come to Carolina as a reserve.

He said he planned to talk with some of his former teammates Saturday, and laughed and said he won't be a completely open book when it comes to divulging the Texans' playbook.

"I'm not just out there opening my mouth," Carr said. "If they ask the right question, I will tell them the right answer. Other than that, they will have to play, too."

Mostly, Carr knows this week's game will be "strange."

"When I'm watching film I feel like I should be watching something else because I'm not watching an opponent tape, I'm watching my own team," he said. "At the same time I've been here long enough to where I feel like these guys are my teammates now.

"They have changed some faces and I know a few guys and I will go out to dinner with them the night before, but other than that they are the opponents."

• TAKING CARE: Although the recent news on injured Buffalo tight end Kevin Everett has been optimistic, the serious spinal injury he suffered has all teams emphasizing doing things the right way. Players are warned often about not dropping their head when they tackle, and coach John Fox praised the efforts to protect players who put their health on the line each week.

"The reality is it's a physical game, and that's why I respect what these guys do so much," Fox said. "I don't care what techniques you use. Obviously, there are things you can do to avoid it, but it's a physical game and, unfortunately, sometimes there is serious injury."

• SPECIAL TALENT: At one point between plays in practice, rookie wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett picked up an errant pass and flicked it back across the field, at least 25 yards, in a perfect spiral -- with his left hand.

Then as he was walking off the practice field, carrying his helmet in his left, he leaned over a railing to sign an autograph -- with his right.

Even Fox seemed impressed, asking Jarrett which hand he preferred.

"I'm ambidextrous," Jarrett replied, with a grin and a shrug.

• NOT LOSING FOCUS: Quarterback Jake Delhomme said the team wasn't cutting backflips after its 27-13 win at St. Louis last week, remembering that it's still a new offense.

"Not necessarily," he replied when asked if he was happy with their play. "We did some good things, but we made a ton of mistakes, quarterback included. It's a work in progress. We were playing in this new system and running plays for the first time in game-type situations."

• EXTRA POINTS: Fox said the team had been thinking of adding veteran tight end Christian Fauria (signed Tuesday) for some time, and the move didn't signal any displeasure with Jeff King or the two rookies they previously had.

"It's not a panic mode by any stretch about the position," Fox said. "It's just that we think he can help us be better. Actually, I thought Jeff King played pretty well."

With the team waiting until Week 2, they avoided guaranteeing his entire annual salary of $820,000. If the Panthers cut the vested veteran before season's end, they'll only have to pay him for the weeks he's around, at $48,235 per week.

Since they didn't work out any other tight ends before the signing also points to the team planning the move for some time.

The injury report hasn't changed much. Safety Nate Salley (knee) didn't practice and defensive end Stanley McClover (thigh) was limited.

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