Panthers cut Goings, Bridges and Hackett

Running back Nick Goings, receiver D.J. Hackett and offensive lineman Jeremy Bridges were released Wednesday as the Carolina Panthers continue to prepare for the start of the 2009 free agency period that begins at 12:01 a.m. Friday morning.

Goings, an undrafted free agent in 2001, rushed for 1,470 yards over eight seasons but was mostly utilized on special teams, where he ranks 5th in team history with 53 special teams tackles.

"Nick has been a valuable member of our team since I have been in Carolina. As a starter or in a reserve role, his versatility and contributions on special teams, along with his unselfish attitude, were important to our team and locker room," said head coach John Fox.

Jeremy Bridges had been a valuable reserve over the last few seasons for the Panthers, but it seemed that his off filed troubles were enough for the Panthers to seek other alternatives. Bridges started 28 games since signing with the Panthers in 2006.

Hackett was a bit of a disappointment, only catching 13 passes in nine games, two of which he started. The staff had high hopes that Hackett would give the Panthers another receiving threat alongside Steve Smith, but the resurgence of Muhsin Muhammad and the plus-side of activating 2007 second round pick Dwayne Jarrett left Hackett and his salary expendable.

"While Jeremy and D.J. were not here as long, their contributions were significant in the success of our season last year," Fox said.

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