|Thursday, September 19
Panthers sign Hilbert in case Kasay can't play
By Len Pasquarelli
It appears the Carolina Panthers have decided on a potential replacement for John Kasay, in the event the veteran kicker cannot play Sunday, because of a groin injury sustained during Wednesday's practice.
The Panthers signed second-year veteran Jon Hilbert to their practice squad Thursday morning, ESPN.com has learned.
Hilbert will probably be elevated to the active roster for Sunday if Carolina decides that Kasay is not available. That is a strong likelihood, since sources said the groin injury could keep Kasay sidelined for more than just one game.
A 12th-year veteran, Kasay suffered a similar injury in training camp and it sidelined him for much of the preseason.
Hilbert, 27, kicked in eight games for the Dallas Cowboys in 2001, replacing the injured Tim Seder. The former Louisville standout converted on 11 of 16 field goal attempts and all 12 extra point tries, for a total of 45 points. That made him the second-highest scorer on the team.
He was in camp this season with Chicago but was released when the Bears opted to stay with incumbent Paul Edinger.
The Panthers auditioned a number of placement specialists as insurance against the possibility Kasay won't be able to kick Sunday, when Carolina plays at Minnesota. Included in the group were Seder and Jaret Holmes.
Hilbert has a very strong leg and, in addition to being a solid place kicker, is excellent on kickoffs as well.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.