Carolina Panthers DT Leonard Headed to IR; Team Signs Antwon Burton

Austin PennyAnalyst ISeptember 22, 2009

ST. LOUIS - 2009:  Antwon Burton of the St. Louis Rams poses for his 2009 NFL headshot at photo day in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by NFL Photos)

The Carolina Panthers have designated defensive tackle Louis Leonard to the injured reserve, ending his season.

The Panthers acquired Leonard from the Cleveland Browns near the end of the preseason for a late-round 2010 draft pick.

Leonard was having a solid game on Sunday before he went down on the Panthers last defensive snap of the game, fracturing his ankle.  Team doctors have said it is a clean break, but that Leonard will require surgery and a six month recovery period.

To fill the roster spot vacated by Leonard, the Panthers signed free agent Antwon Burton.  Burton was cut by the St. Louis Rams as they trimmed their roster down to 53 players.

The 6'2", 325-pound Burton's only NFL experience came in the 2007-08 season with the Denver Broncos.  Burton recorded four tackles and a pass deflection in six games.

Burton may be in line to start on Monday night in Dallas if the injured Nick Hayden cannot recover from a toe injury that sidelined him against Atlanta.