Panthers prepare for first game without Smith

Panthers prepare for first game without Smith

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Breaking a teammate's nose in training camp has cost suspended Carolina Panthers receiver Steve Smith his job as a team captain.

As the Panthers began practice Wednesday without Smith, coach John Fox said the players voted quarterback Jake Delhomme and receiver Muhsin Muhammad offensive captains.

Delhomme and Smith were the captains last year.

Smith was suspended without pay for the first two regular-season games after punching cornerback Ken Lucas in practice.

Defensive end Julius Peppers and linebacker Jon Beason were voted defensive captains.

Panthers receiver D.J. Hackett returned to practice Wednesday after he missed nearly a month with a toe injury. Hackett is expected to play in Sunday's season opener at San Diego.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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