Carolina Panthers

Harris ready for drought to end

CHARLOTTE -- Maybe the rains that began Thursday will be a good omen for Chris Harris.

Because the Panthers strong safety's specialty is beginning to dry up, as he hasn't forced a fumble in a month and a half.

Harris set a franchise record with eight forced fumbles last season, and had one in each of the first two games this year, to give him 10 in 17 games played as a Panther. He hasn't sniffed one since, and it's beginning to worry him.

"I'm in a drought, like Mecklenburg County," Harris said. "I think I just need one to get the ball back rolling. I probably haven't had quite the opportunities the last few weeks. Haven't had as many tackles. The more tackles I get, the more opportunities I have."

Harris did have a fumble recovery three weeks ago against New Orleans, which led to a quick touchdown early in that win. That he hasn't knocked one out himself has him on edge. He said he has to be careful not to get too eager about it, or else he could create more problems.

"At times, the opportunity presents itself, and at times it doesn't," he said. "I can't do it every time I tackle somebody or I'll be missing tackles. I have to pick and choose when I do it. And when I see an opportunity is when I go for it, but lately it hasn't been there."

• HEY, DON'T I KNOW YOU? Panthers backup quarterback Josh McCown's playing against his third straight former team this week, an unusual experience which has enabled him to play "This is Your Life," with his career.

McCown started nine games for Detroit last year, after being traded from Oakland, where he spent 2006. His first four years in the league were spent in Arizona.

"It makes pre-game warm-ups long, because you're talking to everybody," he said of the last two weeks. "It's cool, to have them in a row like this, it's nice to look back on the journey, see the guys you met, and you realize you've been really blessed to be around a lot of great guys and coaches and players and organizations and media.

"I've just been really fortunate to be around a lot of good people."

Sadly for him, he hasn't been around many good teams. The Lions and Raiders were a combined 9-23 during his seasons there.

He said the frustrations of playing for those two organizations are comparable, though they have their unique aspects.

"It's similar, because when there's not continuity above you as a player, everybody senses it," McCown said. "I think it's a little different, obviously. It starts at the top, no matter what you're doing in life. I think Oakland, obviously Mr. Davis (owner Al) makes most of the decisions. Detroit was different. Matt (Millen, the just-fired general manager) was making the decisions, he's not there anymore so maybe they identified what their issue was and try to go in a different direction.

"With anything, it's more you have to be consistent with what you're doing."

• EXTRA POINTS: Because of the weather, the Panthers shortened up practice a bit, moving inside for the final portion. They ran through the final 30 minutes in the stadium concourse, which coach John Fox referred to as "our indoor facility."

Nothing changed on the injury report. Center Ryan Kalil was out again, and defensive tackle Darwin Walker was limited. Otherwise, everyone practiced fully. ... The Lions have 16 players on their injury report, including nine who were out Wednesday. That group included seven starters, and three of their four defensive linemen.

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