But Weinke, who started 15 games for the Panthers in 2001, knows
his options are limited as he enters his fourth NFL season. Jake
Delhomme is locked in at starter after leading the team to the
Super Bowl, and Rodney Peete is expected to be the No. 2
Weinke knows that even if he excels in preseason -- as he did a
year ago -- he's likely stuck as the third-string quarterback.
"Obviously my goal is to be a starter, but with the way last
year played out it isn't like I can come in here and say, 'This is
my job,'" Weinke said.
"The biggest thing for me is to do what I did throughout camp
last year and the preseason and just let it play out," he said.
"Eventually, something has to happen. Either it will work out here
or I will go somewhere else."
Weinke, who turns 32 before training camp, knows his chances of
winning a starting job elsewhere aren't too good. That's perhaps
why he didn't press the issue in the offseason and never asked the
Panthers permission to seek a trade.
Weinke's plan is to play out the five-year contract that expires
after the 2005 season.
His goal is to come to training camp this summer and prove that
he can still play when given the opportunity.
"I didn't sit down with the coaching staff and talk about my
future," Weinke said. "I think they know where I stand and I
think they know I can still play. It's a situation where after camp
last year they understood how I approached things and they knew I
would be ready to play when called upon."
Weinke started as an overaged rookie when the Panthers finished
1-15 in 2001. He was benched just before the 2002 season opener by
John Fox, the new coach.
But in four preseason games last year, his passer rating was a
sparkling 107.4, second best in the NFC, albeit against backups.
It wasn't enough, however, to get him higher than third on the
"To go through what I went through as a rookie and then to come
in and have what happened to me happen where I was more or less
fired from my job I needed something to say, 'You know what, I can
still play,'" Weinke said.
"I proved that throughout the camps last summer and in training
camp, in the preseason and throughout practice last year.
"And there are other teams that saw that tape, too. So I just
have to show I can do it again this year and let the chips fall
where they may."