CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -The last time Josh McCown was at Bank of America Stadium he had been benched by Arizona coach Dennis Green the night before the game with Carolina in 2004. He then watched his replacement, Shaun King, get roughed up in the Panthers' 35-10 win.
The following year, McCown had one of his better games for the Cardinals, throwing for nearly 400 yards and two touchdowns in another Panthers win, 24-20.
Coach John Fox most remembered the second encounter, and it's one of the reasons McCown was back in town Tuesday, scurrying to learn his new teammates and playbook so he could perhaps serve as Jake Delhomme's backup in Carolina's opener Sunday at San Diego.
``He caused us fits,'' Fox said. ``He's a good athlete, good size, and a lively arm. For whatever reason, I remember the one game out there he played well against us.''
After watching Matt Moore and Brett Basanez struggle in the preseason, and Moore hurt his left leg late in the final preseason game, the Panthers on Friday sent a seventh-round pick in next year's draft to Miami for the 29-year-old McCown.
The reason McCown was available? Brett Favre, sort of.
McCown, who played for Oakland last season, had signed with the Dolphins shortly after free agency began in February. He received a $2.5 million signing bonus and fully intended on being the starter.
``Going around the last few free agency times I always tried to get into a situation where you're competing for a job,'' McCown said. ``I'll be honest, that's why I went to Miami.''
But then Favre unretired and was traded to the New York Jets. That made Chad Pennington expendable, and the Dolphins quickly snatched him up after the Jets released him.
Add in Dolphins draft pick Chad Henne, and all of a sudden McCown was watching the final three preseason games from the sidelines.
``It seemed as though from the get-go they were moving in the direction of making Chad the guy,'' McCown said. ``So with that being said, I kind of didn't know where I stood completely. When you go through the second, third, fourth preseason games I figured something was up. So I was excited to get the call to come here.''
Despite his benching in 2004, McCown enjoyed Charlotte during his first visit with the Cardinals in 2002. A native of Jacksonville, Texas, McCown wanted to play for a team in the South, but didn't think Carolina was a good fit.
``No, simply because I always understood that Jake was solidified there as the starter, so I was always looking for an opportunity,'' McCown said. ``Went to Detroit, end of the year got traded. Then I went to Miami. So I'm excited about being here.''
McCown brings an experienced, if unspectacular resume. His best season in the NFL was the year he got benched in Carolina. He started a career-high 13 games and had 11 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions.
He has a career passer rating of 71.6, and his main problem has been turnovers. He has 40 career interceptions to his 35 TD passes and has fumbled 39 times, losing 14.
But McCown has good size (6-foot-4, 215 pounds) and already has some understanding of the offense. McCown's offensive coordinator in Miami was Dan Henning, who spent five years running Carolina's offense under Fox until he was fired after the 2006 season.
``What I try to do is pull out the plays that I'm not comfortable with yet and get those nailed down,'' McCown said.
With Moore's status uncertain this week, McCown may be the No. 2 QB Sunday. It's clear Fox has confidence McCown could fill that role, unlike Green three years ago when he made the QB switch in a Charlotte hotel room the night before kickoff.
``I thought he had played very well when they made a change when they were here,'' Fox said. ``We followed him in Detroit and followed him Oakland and we talked about him this past offseason.''

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