Haruki Nakamura has maintained his starting job in Carolina even after a series of bad plays – the most glaring allowing Atlanta’s Roddy White to catch what amounted to a 59-yards Hail Mary on a game-winning field goal drive – cost the Panthers a division game.
Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer reports Nakamura shaved his head Monday in an effort to change his fortune, and then he was informed he would keep his starting job the following day.
“For them to still have confidence in me and look me in the eyes and say, ‘We know what type of football player you are. Those mistakes are correctable.’ But at the same time they expect more,” Nakamura said.
Sherrod Martin will get more work with the first team in practice but Nakamura, a free-agent addition in the offseason, will stick for now.
“It’s really one game, one play, one situation, one set of circumstances. There were 164 plays in that game. There were not 163 perfect ones,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. “(Nakamura) had an interception in the red zone. The guy knocked away a ball in the end zone. To do a complete turnaround and shutdown, I don’t know if it’s warranted.”
Nakamura knows it will be warranted if he goes out and falls on his face again.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune