The Carolina Panthers placed quarterback Jake Delhomme on injured reserve yesterday with a broken finger on his throwing hand, ending his worst season as a pro and raising questions about his future with the franchise.
Delhomme said he broke the knuckle on his middle finger in a loss to the Jets Nov. 29. He hasn’t played or practiced since.
Matt Moore has started the last three games and threw for a career-high 299 yards and three touchdowns in last Sunday’s upset win over Minnesota.
The Panthers (6-8) promoted quarterback Hunter Cantwell from the practice squad to take Delhomme’s roster spot. A.J. Feeley is No. 2 on the depth chart.
“We thought he might be further along as far as his finger,’’ coach John Fox said. “We kind of looked at it this week as far as gripping the ball, throwing the ball and it wasn’t up to speed. We felt we needed to get another quarterback up.’’
Despite committing six turnovers in Carolina’s ugly playoff loss to Arizona in January, the Panthers gave the 34-year-old Delhomme a lucrative contract extension in the offseason.
While it’s a five-year deal, it’s structured to be a three-year contract worth more than $25 million, with nearly $13 million guaranteed.
Delhomme then committed five more turnovers in a blowout loss to Philadelphia in the season opener, and had 18 interceptions and only eight TD passes in 11 games before the injury. He completed only 55.5 percent of his passes.
Stafford on IR
Some other notables were placed on injured reserve, including Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford
, who was ruled out for the season ahead of what the team calls minor right knee surgery. Coach Jim Schwartz
says the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 draft was to have undergone the surgery after the season. Third-year QB Drew Stanton
will make his first NFL start Sunday against the 49ers in San Francisco . . . The Colts put receiver Anthony Gonzalez
on IR. He sprained ligaments in his right knee in the season opener and later had arthroscopic surgery on the knee, delaying his return. Team president Bill Polian
said Indianapolis hoped to have Gonzalez practice this week so he could play in the final two games. Gonzalez practiced Monday but sat out Wednesday, prompting yesterday’s announcement.
Bills in flux
Bills interim coach Perry Fewell
is taking a wait-and-see approach with his quarterbacks after starter Ryan Fitzpatrick
missed his second straight practice because of an ankle injury. Fewell said Fitzpatrick is feeling better and did “a little throwing’’ before practice Thursday as the Bills prepare to play at Atlanta this weekend. With backup Trent Edwards
out with an ankle injury, third-stringer Brian Brohm
would make his NFL debut if Fitzpatrick can’t play. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan
(turf toe) said he doesn’t believe his limited participation in practice this week will keep him from starting against Buffalo . . . Linebacker Jason Taylor
returned to practice as the Dolphins prepared for their game against Houston. Taylor practiced after resting a sore right shoulder Wednesday. He has started every game and has seven sacks this year . . . Raiders fullback Luke Lawton
was suspended four games without pay by the NFL for violating the league’s policy against performance enhancing substances . . . Redskins defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth
was fined $10,000 by the NFL and Giants running back Brandon Jacobs
was assessed for $7,500. The players were fined Thursday for an altercation late in New York’s 45-12 victory at Washington. The league also fined Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams
$5,000 for a tackle at the knees on Panthers quarterback Matt Moore
. . . Two days after waiving veteran kicker John Carney
, the Saints brought him back as a kicking consultant.
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