Nick Goings, Jeremy Bridges, D.J. Hackett Released by Panthers

Austin PennyAnalyst IFebruary 25, 2009

The Carolina Panthers have released three players from their roster today. 

Running back Nick Goings, wide receiver D.J. Hackett, and offensive lineman Jeremy Bridges were all let go by the Panthers as the offseason continues to move forward.

The most notable name on the list is obviously Goings, who Panthers fans have come to know as a hardworking reserve since 2001. 

Joining the team as an undrafted free agent in '01, Goings racked up 1,470 yards and six touchdowns in eight seasons of serving primarily as a special teams star, where he ranks as the team's fifth all-time special teams tackles leader with 53. 

Goings was thrust into the starting role in 2004, when injuries decimated the Panthers' running back corps of Stephen Davis, DeShaun Foster, and Rod Smart.  Starting just eight games in '04, Goings produced five 100-yard performances, including four straight. 

Bridges joined the Panthers in 2006 as a free agent, and started 24 games in his first two years on the team.  In 2008, with the addition of rookie Jeff Otah to the roster, Bridges was relegated to a backup role.  He made just four starts in '08, and was involved in legal trouble stemming from an incident at a strip club late in the season.

Hackett joined the team before the 2008 season as a free agent, and was expected to be a key addition to the Panthers offense by providing Jake Delhomme with a reliable slot receiver while Dwayne Jarrett progressed.  That was not the case as Hackett recorded only 13 receptions for 181 yards in nine games with the team.

The release of Hackett makes one curious as to whether the Panthers will seek any potential free agent receivers in the open market, or whether they may use a mid-round draft pick to bolster that position. Ryne Robinson should be set for the beginning of next year, but expect to see him used primarily as a return man.

The free agency and trading period begins Friday.