Carolina Panthers

Carr trying to keep head clear

CHARLOTTE -- When quarterback David Carr signed with the Carolina Panthers, part of his reasoning was to go to a stable franchise where everything wouldn't be placed on his shoulders, giving him a chance to inhale.

A year off, more than anything, was what he needed after five seasons of beatings in Houston.

"It's definitely been the opposite of that," Carr said.

Like the rest of the quarterbacks, his season's been marked by injuries, from a broken toe in training camp, to the back-wrenching in New Orleans which he now says came with another concussion. When he suffered the next head injury in Tennessee a month later, he initially said he hadn't had one since 2003, but his definition of the condition didn't jive with the doctors, leading to him changing his story.

"It wasn't a big deal to me because I felt all right, but the doctors view those things more seriously," Carr said. "A concussion, the doctors tell me, you get hit in the head and you get dizzy. If you have any side effects, you have a concussion. The only one I remember missing time or forgetting plays was in 2003.

"I thought I was just having headaches and stuff because my back was jacked up (after New Orleans). Looking back, the doctors feel pretty strongly it was a concussion, too. So I side with them, whatever a concussion technically is."

He's been cleared to play this week, but it's unclear if he'll return to the starting role or whether the Panthers will stick with Vinny Testaverde.

When asked if he feared he was going the way of Wally Pipp (the former New York Yankee who took a day off and was replaced by a kid named Lou Gehrig), Carr sounded like a man who's been replaced.

"It's not like I've been healthy enough to do anything about it," he said. "The way this season's gone, hopefully nothing else happens to us this year, but how many quarterbacks have started a game for us, or played?

"I'll get my chance again."

He was asked if his head has stopped spinning at all in his career, after all that's happened.

"I'm just looking to get healthy," he said. "I feel OK to play, but right now I just want to get to 100 percent. When I get to that point, then I can worry about playing and feeling good on the field again. This situation, it really hasn't stopped -- the craziness and what's going on.

"It's going to be a good book. I was just talking about that with my wife. It's going to be a pretty sweet one when we get all this settled down."

• STAY TUNED: Coach John Fox is hesitant to declare a starting quarterback -- and rightfully so, given what he's been through this year -- but said he'd announce it before the team left for the trip to Green Bay.

"There will be a starting quarterback before the weekend," Fox said. "I don't want to promise."

Asked if there was a benefit in making it clear to help build some rhythm offensively, Fox replied, "Oh, our players know."

Testaverde said his Achilles tendinitis feels good this week, after having a setback last week when he tried to push it in practice. Like Fox, he didn't want to say too much.

"I don't want to jinx myself, Testaverde said. "It's going to be a nagging thing the rest of the year. There's going to be some points in the game where it kind of grabs you, like a stabbing feeling. But it kind of goes away after a minute or two. The big thing for me last week after the game, I was able to not have any setbacks and even though it was a little sore, it felt much better than the week before that."

• BUSH REMEMBERS: Former camp-hand Jarrett Bush has made an impact with the Packers, sticking after Carolina released him in final cuts last year.

They chose to keep veteran Reggie Howard as their fourth cornerback, only to be disappointed when Howard left in midseason to deal with a personal matter. By that point, Bush had settled in as the Packers' nickel corner.

"There's a little bit, definitely," Bush told Green Bay reporters this week when asked if he had hard feelings toward the Panthers. "I thought I out-performed some of the players that were there, and they ended up cutting me. So now I have to make them wish they'd have kept me.

"I want to make them pay. Either get a knockout hit at the punt returner or get an interception and take it to the house. Not start a fight or an altercation or anything. I just want them to say, 'Shoot, we should have kept him. Dang.'"

• EXTRA POINTS: Starting safety Deke Cooper (shoulder) returned to practice, along with running back DeShaun Foster (toe) and cornerback Ken Lucas (hip). They held out wide receiver Steve Smith (leg) and defensive tackle Damione Lewis (shoulder) again.