Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers trim roster to 53, release Brenton Bersin

Carolina Panthers running back Brandon Wegher (32) heads to the end zone for a touchdown as Buffalo Bills' B.J. Larsen (69) pursues in the fourth quarter of the Aug. 14 preseason game at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Carolina won 25-24.
Carolina Panthers running back Brandon Wegher (32) heads to the end zone for a touchdown as Buffalo Bills' B.J. Larsen (69) pursues in the fourth quarter of the Aug. 14 preseason game at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Carolina won 25-24. dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

Two undrafted rookies found homes in Charlotte while one Charlotte native will have to find a new home.

The Carolina Panthers trimmed their roster to 53 by Saturday afternoon’s deadline, and the team kept running back Brandon Wegher and safety Dean Marlowe but released Charlotte Latin and Wofford graduate Brenton Bersin.

Bersin was among the top names the Panthers parted with Saturday after the second-year receiver spent all of last season on the 53-man roster. Carolina also released linebacker/special teams ace Jason Trusnik and running back Jordan Todman.

Bersin had 13 catches for 151 yards and a touchdown last season. He and Panthers owner/founder Jerry Richardson are the only Wofford alumni who played in a regular season NFL game.

He had a good camp and beat out Jarrett Boykin for what seemed like the final roster spot before Carolina traded with Seattle for Kevin Norwood last week. Norwood’s addition squeezed out Bersin with the Panthers.

Running back was another position Panthers coach Ron Rivera said would make for a difficult decision on Saturday. In picking Wegher, Carolina put backup running back and kick returner Todman.

Wegher, who attended three colleges and had two arrests for misdemeanors, earned a spot on the 90-man roster after rookie minicamp. He entered training camp as the No. 5 running back, but his preseason could not be ignored.

Two of his three touchdowns were game winners, and he totaled 157 yards of offense in four exhibitions. Carolina wanted to put him on the practice squad, but that would expose him to teams potentially poaching him from that. The Panthers protected Wegher by putting him on the final roster.

Rivera and general manager Dave Gettleman picked linebacker Ben Jacobs and fifth-round draft pick David Mayo over Trusnik, who signed with the team in the offseason to bolster the special teams unit. In three years of drafting for Carolina, Gettleman has yet to cut a draft pick the same year he drafted him.

And one week after Rivera indicated Marlowe would do well with a year on special teams, the former James Madison safety made the final roster. With an injury to safety Colin Jones and the potential for Marlowe to get plucked off the practice squad, the Panthers elevated him to the 53-man team.

Just because the roster was finalized before the deadline doesn’t mean the Panthers will go into next week’s game in Jacksonville with this exact team. A team source indicated last week the Panthers would look at the waiver wire for receivers.

There Carolina would find players such as James Jones, Hakeem Nicks, Corey Washington Jr., Dezmin Lewis, Tre McBride and Duron Carter, the son of Hall of Fame receiver Cris Carter. The addition of any one of those players could mean the release of Corey Brown, who struggled with drops in two exhibitions.

The team could also be in the market for a backup center. Starter Ryan Kalil is battling a knee injury, backup Brian Folkerts (ankle) reached an injury settlement with the team and starting right tackle Mike Remmers started at the position Thursday against the Steelers.

Carolina will also add 10 players to its practice squad this week, and most, if not all, of them will come from the group of players cut. The Panthers have indicated they’d like to keep linebacker Adarius Glanton, receiver Damiere Byrd and tight end Scott Simonson on their practice squad, among others.

Jonathan Jones: 704-358-5323, @jjones9

Roster moves

Panthers players released: DT Chas Alecxih, S Marcus Ball, WR Brenton Bersin, LB Brian Blechen, WR Mike Brown, CB Carrington Byndom, WR Damiere Byrd, DE Rakim Cox, OT David Foucault, LB Adarius Glanton, CB T.J. Heath, G Ricky Henry, TE Marcus Lucas, C Jordan McCray, DT Terry Redden, TE Scott Simonson, RB Jordan Todman, LB Jason Trusnik, OT Martin Wallace and CB Lou Young.

Waived/injured: C Brian Folkerts

Injured reserve: DE Arthur Miley

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