With kicker John Kasay sidelined by a strained calf suffered in last week's victory at San Francisco, and coaches not inclined to gamble again on punter Todd Sauerbrun to handle the placement chores, the Carolina Panthers on Friday signed Jeff Chandler to the roster.
A onetime fourth-round pick of the 49ers, Chandler had been signed to the practice squad earlier this week, with the anticipation that Kasay would not be able to kick. Details of Chandler's contract were not immediately available, but he likely received a one-year deal for the minimum base salary, prorated over the balance of the season.
It is not yet known how long Kasay will be out, so Chandler could be with the Panthers for a few weeks.
Meanwhile, it's still not as clear who'll be playing quarterback for Carolina,
because starter Jake Delhomme has a broken right thumb and didn't
work out Friday. He's expected to test the thumb on his throwing
hand during Saturday's walkthrough and the team hopes he can play
Delhomme was hurt in last Sunday's 37-27 win over the San
Francisco 49ers and he hasn't taken any snaps in practice this
Officially, Delhomme remains listed as questionable on the
team's injury report.
"He's day-to-day and he'll take snaps tomorrow," Panthers head
coach John Fox said Friday. "I'm still optimistic."
Chandler, 25, has converted 14 of 19 field goal attempts and all 14 extra point tries in his NFL career. The former University of Florida star was eight-for-12 on field goals with the 49ers in 2003, but was released when he struggled with longer attempts. He was in camp with Jacksonville this summer, but lost out to rookie Josh Scobee in a three-man competition for the starting job.
Last month, the Rams signed Chandler as insurance when regular kicker Jeff Wilkins was injured, but waived him after one game. Chandler has auditioned for several teams in '04 and most acknowledged he has NFL-caliber skills.
The injury to Kasay last week forced Sauerbrun into the placement role and he responded by making four extra points and a field goal. But the Carolina coaches prefer Sauerbrun concentrate solely on his punting duties and, when it was obvious Kasay would need time to rehabilitate, sought out Chandler as his replacement.
Sauerbrun actually volunteered to handle the placements this week, but only if Carolina officials reimbursed him some of the $40,000 he has been fined this season for violating weight clauses in his contract. Those clauses stipulate that Sauerbrun maintain his weight at 217 pounds, and he conceded he has been beyond that much of the season.
In addition to adding Chandler to the active roster, the Panthers elevated linebacker Sean Tufts from the practice squad. To make room for the two players, Carolina waived safety James Whitley, signed last week as a free agent, and placed tailback Joey Harris on the injured reserve list with a hamstring injury.
Harris had rushed for 53 yards on 15 carries in four appearances.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here.