Kerry Collins, who stunned his Carolina Panthers teammates earlier in the week by removing himself from the starting lineup, was deactivated Friday for Sunday's game against the Dallas Cowboys.
"I felt it would be better for our football team to not have the distraction of having Kerry with us on the sideline after what transpired," coach Dom Capers said.
"When we go on the road, we talk all the time about eliminating distractions," he said. "This will help us keep our focus on Dallas."
Collins will remain in Charlotte when the Panthers head to Dallas for Sunday's game. He'll rejoin the team next week, Capers said.
With Tuesday's NFL trading deadline looming, Capers would not comment on the long-term future of his former starting quarterback.
"We'll think about that at the beginning of next week," Capers said. "Right now, the No. 1 priority is the game."
| Steve Beuerlein (right) will start in place of the deactivated Kerry Collins. (AP) |
"He was fine with it," Capers said. "I met with him this morning and I told him he was being deactivated for this game."
The latest crisis for the winless Panthers began Wednesday morning when Collins came to apers' office and told him "my heart isn't in it," Capers said.
When the players took the field later that day, Capers filled them in on what Collins had told him. He also told backup Steve Beuerlein that he would be starting against the Cowboys on Sunday.
Since then, the Panthers' front office has been trying to figure out what to do with the former star. He could be traded or released or simply remain with the club.
"We're not going to close the door on anything," Capers said Friday.
Capers briefly described his frustration with the ordeal, which erupted as he was trying to prepare for the Cowboys.
"We obviously felt strongly about Kerry," he said. "We felt things were very positive during the off-season. We installed a new offense and brought in a new offensive coordinator.
"He has done some good things, even though we are 0-4," Capers said. "That's why it came as a real surprise to me."
The Panthers have lost six consecutive games dating to last December, and they have surrendered the two highest point totals in club history in their last two games -- 37 to Green Bay and 51 to Atlanta.
Collins, who has been a frequent target of criticism about the Panthers' poor start, has not spoken with the media all week.
Some Carolina players have criticized Collins for his decision, including veterans Eric Davis and Jeff Brady. Others have been more sympathetic.
"When you're in this kind of situation you find out a lot about your team," Capers said. "A lot comes out in times of adversity."
Asked what he learned about Collins, Capers searched for an answer.
"I don't know ... I was surprised," he said. "I can say I do appreciate that Kerry came to talk to me."
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