Jon Beason will have an MRI on his left leg Sunday in Charlotte. (AP Photo)
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Carolina Panthers fear that three-time Pro Bowl linebacker Jon Beason has torn his left Achilles tendon and is out for the year, two sources confirmed.
The Panthers didn’t want to make any announcement until they have a chance to see an MRI and confirm the injury.
But it doesn't look good.
After the game, coach Ron Rivera wouldn’t talk about the specific nature of the injury, but several players talked about the significance of it.
“I’m just happy and honored to be on this team because we had guys out there that were blowing out tires to fight,” wide receiver Steve Smith said of Beason. “It doesn’t get any better than that. You don’t get guys in the locker room like that. It rarely comes and when you have a guy who does that you surely miss him, but he’s admirable for his effort and I’m honored and pleased to be his teammate.”
Added linebacker Thomas Davis: “The thing that Jon did so well is he was a great leader for our team. So we’ll find out what it is and hopefully we can get him back soon.”
It happened while Beason was covering former Panthers tight end Jeff King, who scored on a 48-yard touchdown after Beason fell down. Beason was carted to the locker room and the Cardinals went on to win the game 28-21 at University of Phoenix Stadium.
It’s the same leg that has given Beason fits throughout the last several months.
It was originally diagnosed as Achilles tendinitis, but Beason said an MRI later revealed he had inflammation in the bone. He had three screws inserted in his foot and was told he would need to be out three to four weeks to recover. Beason came back in less than three weeks to play in Sunday’s game against Arizona.
At any rate, it’s pretty clear Beason’s streak of 65 straight starts is over.
Beason just signed a five-year contract extension with the Panthers worth more than $50 million.
Dan Connor will start in his place.
BLOWN PUNT COVERAGE: One of the biggest plays of the game was when the Panthers gave up an 89-yard punt return to rookie Patrick Peterson, allowing the Cardinals to take the lead for good at 28-21 with 7:15 left in the game.
Rivera was upset with the play.
“Our guys went down and got in great coverage and we let up,” Rivera said. “I think somebody expected somebody else to make the play, but we will see on tape. We will see where the crease came. We had a couple missed opportunities as far as tackles were concerned.”
Peterson actually started celebrating around the 15-yard line during his return and then looked back and saw the speedy Mike Goodson closing in on him from behind. He suddenly sped up and then had to dive head-first into the end zone to score.
“I took a little quick peak,” Peterson said. “I was gonna give you guys a taste of my dancing skills.”
NEWTON FLAGGED: Speaking of celebrations, Newton made a rookie blunder when he went down to his knee after scoring on a touchdown leap and began playing the air guitar, drawing an automatic 15-yard penalty for excessive celebration. The Panthers had to kickoff from their own 15 and the Cardinals started their next drive at their own 41 after a decent return.
PUGH OWNS UP TO MISTAKE: Jordan Pugh said it was his fault that Cardinals receiver Early Doucett escaped for a 70-yard touchdown reception tying the game in the fourth quarter.
“It was my fault,” Pugh said. “I had the calls mixed up. I take all of the blame in that. That’s on me. You move on and go forward with it.”
Pugh said it was a breakdown in coverage and called it a mental error.
OTAH SPLITS TIME: Jeff Otah’s knee is fine but he split time at right tackle with rookie Byron Bell. Otah said that was the coaching staff’s idea, not his, but that he escaped without injury.
CLAUSEN INACTIVE: As expected, QB Jimmy Clausen was declared inactive for Sunday’s game against Arizona.
The Panthers also released OG Max Jean-Gilles prior to Sunday’s game and deactivated WR Kealoha Pilares, CB Josh Thomas, LB Jason Williams, OT Lee Ziemba and FB Jerome Felton.
With Felton down, the Panthers kept only first-year player Richie Brockel up for Sunday’s game. Brockel graduated from Greenway High in Phoenix and attended Boise State.
With Jean-Gilles gone and Ziemba inactive, the Panthers had only seven active linemen for Sunday’s game.
TICKETS AVAILABLE: Carolina’s home opener Sunday against Green Bay is all but sold out, but between 3,000 to 6,000 tickets remain for the remainder of the team’s home games, according to ticket sales director Phil Youtsey. Tickets can be purchased by calling 704-358-7800 or any Ticketmaster location.