Carolina Panthers

Taylor's death hits close to home for Miami ex-teammate Beason

CHARLOTTE -- Carolina Panthers linebacker Jon Beason remembered slain Washington safety Sean Taylor as a teammate and a friend, dating to their days in high schools in the Miami area.

The Panthers' rookie was soft-spoken when asked about his former University of Miami teammate, saying he plans to attend next week's memorial services.

"I think at this point, everybody is still in awe," Beason said. "The services are Monday and I'm going to get down there, that'll probably be more of the realization.

"It's just tragic to see a guy so young with so much promise in his future to have it happen to him. The reality of it is, it can happen to any of us."

Taylor died Tuesday after being shot in his home the day before. That it happened there, and not in a club or on the street, left Beason shaking his head when asked if he feels safe.

"I think as a player, you really don't think about it until something like this happens," Beason said. "When it does, you're all worried. You want to beef up your security system at your house, or get a dog or anything. I think everyone around the league is thinking about it, and praying for his family.

"In a situation like that, you're in your house, your doors are locked, you're supposed to be pretty safe."

• QB SHUFFLE?: We know by this point that 44-year-old Vinny Testaverde will start as long as he's able. What we don't know officially yet is how they'll stack up behind him.

Testaverde wasn't able to play last week because his back locked up on him the day before the game, but he was able to practice Wednesday.

"He looks a lot better today than he did Sunday morning," coach John Fox said.

What Fox didn't say was whether rookie Matt Moore or David Carr would be the backup.

"Those will be decisions we make as we go through the week, and we'll announce that an hour and a half before kickoff," Fox said.

Carr started last week, but was booed almost every time he took the field and was eventually replaced by Moore in the fourth quarter, long after the fans had taken up the "We want Moore," chants.

Moore said he's ready for whatever role the Panthers give him, but said it was difficult for him to hear the chants, even though it meant a chance for him.

"I think it's tough," he said. "Dave is one of my teammates and he's out there working his tail off. I don't have thoughts on it either way. You want to come out victorious no matter who's saying what."

• HOT TICKETS: The Panthers weren't exempt from the Hannah Montana craze that descended on the city Tuesday.

Fox's 7-year-old daughter Halle was in the crowd (with his wife Robin, he was game-planning), while injured quarterback Jake Delhomme said word got out early he needed to come through.

"I started getting calls in August, saying, 'Hey, can you try (to get tickets)?" Delhomme said.

Sadly for him, he wasn't able to make it, as his wife took their 4-year-old daughter Lauren. He had to stay home with 9-month-old Lindsey, probably watching re-runs of the popular Disney Channel show, which features Miley Cyrus (daughter of country singer Billy Ray Cyrus) in the title role.

"I absolutely would have gone," Delhomme said. "Her show is great."

• STREAK SNAPPERS: San Francisco started the year with a pair of wins but lost eight in a row before ending that skid with an overtime win at Arizona last week.

"Well, it was very important to get a win, there is no question about that, and it does start to bring back some of the confidence that we started the season with," 49ers coach Mike Nolan said in a conference call. " The way we did it was probably even better because we had to hang in there and go through some adversity.

"To win the ballgame was a real key as far as us getting things turned around and starting a new kind of winning streak."

• EXTRA POINTS: The injury report wasn't a substantial one for this time of year. The Panthers held out veteran defensive end Mike Rucker (illness) and wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett (knee). Testaverde and cornerback Chris Gamble, coming off thumb surgery last week, were back to full participation. ... When asked about the team's mood, Fox said, "It's good. We're focusing on things we can control. What we can control is to prepare, focus and play better this week. If we play like we're capable of and do the things we need to do, the other stuff takes care of itself."

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