The man who was supposed to push Tshimanga Biakabutuka for the Panthers' starting running back spot is now ready to play. Richard Huntley, who came to Charlotte from Pittsburgh, spent the bulk of the pre-season on the sidelines with a hamstring injury that he now says was more serious than anyone let on.
"This time is wasn't the hamstring itself, it was the hamstring tendon so that's more of a longer wait than a normal hamstring. I'm over it, I'm ready to play".
Whether or not he gets that chance remains to be seen. Biakabutuka has been less than impressive, rarely showing any of the potential the Panthers saw in him. His fumblitis has become a real problem that was underscored in Minnesota when he lost one inside the Minnesota 10.
Rookie free agent Nick Goings saw the bulk of the action after that, ending the day with 86 yards on 25 carries. That, coupled with his job-winning performance in the pre-season, has made Goings number one in the hearts of Panther fans. That means that Huntley has an even bigger hill to climb, despite the fact he's a local kid, from Monroe, North Carolina, about 20 miles down the road.
But, it's that inability to compete that has left Huntley frustrated. "I wish I'd been healthy and I wasn't. I wanted to be out there so bad to compete and just to get a chance to get the feel of the football and get back playing. Now, I'm healthy…I feel I'm healthy, and ready to play football."
The question is: is coach George Seifert ready for Huntley to play.