Panthers notes

Injuries hit Panthers' secondary

Munnerlyn out, Godfrey doubtful for today's game against Bucs

jperson@charlotteobserver.comDecember 24, 2011 

— The Carolina Panthers will be without at least one defensive back, and likely will be missing half of their starting secondary today against Tampa Bay.

Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn was placed on injured reserve Friday, five days after he pulled his hamstring in a 28-13 win at Houston. Strong safety Charles Godfrey, who aggravated a shoulder injury against the Texans, is listed as doubtful.

Godfrey, second on the team with 93 tackles, did not practice all week. Jordan Pugh will start if Godfrey does not play.

Darius Butler will step in for Munnerlyn, who has started every game this season. Butler was beaten for a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown catches by Atlanta's Julio Jones in Week 14, before missing last week's game with post-concussion symptoms.

Munnerlyn is the 17th Panthers' player to go on IR this season. The Panthers' previous high was 14 players, set in 2004 and 2010.

Safety Jonathan Nelson was signed from the practice squad to take Munnerlyn's spot on the 53-man roster.

The Panthers' other injured players are listed as probable for today's game, including three starters: left tackle Jordan Gross (ankle) and defensive ends Charles Johnson (back) and Greg Hardy, who left Thursday's practice early with an illness.

Rookie Honor: Quarterback Cam Newton won Rookie of the Week honors for the second time this season for his performance in the win at Houston. Newton threw for a season-low 149 yards, but led a pair of impressive fourth-quarter drives after the Texans had pulled within 8 points.

Newton also won the award, which is voted on by fans, after throwing for 374 yards in the Panthers' Week 4 loss at Chicago. Newton is one of four rookies to win it twice, joining Oakland receiver Denarius Moore, Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton and San Francisco linebacker Aldon Smith.

Security Delays: Fans planning to enter Bank of America Stadium through the south entrance should allow for extra time today, as security officials use hand-held wands to screen fans instead of pat-downs.

The NFL has been testing the wands in recent weeks, including the Panthers' Dec. 11 home game against Atlanta.

Person: 704-358-5123

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