Guard Jeremy Bridges to get 2nd chance with Carolina Panthers

The Charlotte ObserverNovember 14, 2012 

— The Carolina Panthers are bringing in a familiar face to serve as a stop-gap on their offensive line.

The team is expected to re-sign free-agent guard Jeremy Bridges on Wednesday, interim general manager Brandon Beane said Tuesday. The move comes after the Panthers gave up seven sacks during Sunday’s 36-14 loss to Denver. Seven tied for the third-most sacks allowed in team history.

Bridges, who was in Charlotte from 2006 through ’08, most recently played with Arizona. The Cardinals put Bridges on injured reserve Sept. 2 with torn left thumb ligaments before reaching an injury settlement with him last week.

Bridges, who worked out Tuesday for the Panthers, likely would step in immediately for Jeff Byers at right guard. Carolina would need to make a corresponding roster move.

“He’s a high-energy guy. He’s a guy we know,” Beane said. “If we sign him, we’d be bringing him in to compete for a starting spot.”

Bridges, 32, started 28 games during his first stint with the Panthers, which included a couple of off-the-field incidents.

Bridges was suspended for the first two games of the 2007 season after he was arrested for misdemeanor assault for pointing a gun at a stripper. He was found guilty that fall and given a 60-day suspended sentence, one year of probation and 60 hours of community service. He also had to surrender the gun.

The next season he was charged with simple assault and battery after shaking and popping a bottle of champagne that sprayed on bystanders at a night club. He was alleged to have pushed a bar bouncer during the same incident.

He was released by Carolina at the end of the season.

Bridges, 6-foot-5 and 318 pounds, had been with the Cardinals since 2009, playing in every game and starting 16.

The Panthers’ line has struggled since Pro Bowl center Ryan Kalil was placed on IR with a foot injury after the Seattle game Oct. 7. Geoff Hangartner slid from guard to center, and Byers was moved to Hangartner’s old position. Carolina tinkered with shifting second-year tackle Byron Bell to guard for a game before moving him back to right tackle.

Coach Ron Rivera said Monday that both guards – Byers and rookie Amini Silatolu – were “exposed” by the Broncos’ defense Sunday. Each gave up a sack during the game.

The Panthers are tied for eighth in the league with 24 sacks and are on pace to allow 42 this season, seven more than last season.

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