CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -David Carr fidgeted and didn't know where to stand. The five-year starter in Houston spent all of Carolina's season opener at St. Louis on the sidelines.
Barring an injury to Jake Delhomme, Carr won't take a snap when the Panthers' face the Houston Texans - his former team - this Sunday either.
And yet Carr thinks he was the happiest player on his team after last Sunday's 27-13 win over the Rams.
``To tell you the truth, we wouldn't have won in that situation,'' Carr said Wednesday of the Texans. ``I don't know a lot of teams that would have won in the situation, to go up and beat a good team like St. Louis in their home opener.
``This is what I signed up for - to be on a football team like this and hopefully somewhere down the line get a chance to play.''
Carr didn't get a lot of experience with winning in Houston, where he carried the pressure of being the top pick in the 2002 draft and of being the face of the expansion team.
The Texans were 24-56 in five years and Carr, a victim of a porous offensive line, was sacked an NFL-high 249 times.
The team also played under a cloud last season as fans questioned the decision to take defensive end Mario Williams with the No. 1 overall pick ahead of Vince Young and Reggie Bush.
After going 6-10 last season under first-year coach Gary Kubiak, the Texans acquired Matt Schaub from Atlanta and anointed him the starter. Carr was then released.
``It was a very difficult decision,'' Kubiak said Wednesday. ``In this business you're making tough decisions all the time that you feel like are best for your football team. With David, I have tremendous respect for what he did here in Houston and what he did for me in the short time we were together.''
The split was probably good for both sides.
The Texans needed a fresh start with a new QB - and looked good in their season-opening 20-3 win Sunday over Kansas City.
Carr needed a rest from the losing - and the constant pounding from all the sacks. It's why he signed a two-year, $6.2 million deal to be Carolina's backup when he would have had a chance to start elsewhere.
``It was a situation that got so big with the draft and everything that happened in the last 15 months, I was happy to get out of there, to tell you the truth,'' Carr said. ``You're disappointed, but you have to move on. I'm on a good football team now and I'm happy where I'm at. I'm enjoying what I'm doing and enjoying football again.''
Even though he's not playing.
Delhomme cemented his position as starter when he threw for 201 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions against the Rams.
Carr spent the game adjusting to his new role as a backup.
``It was different. I would be lying to you if I said I was comfortable out there,'' Carr said. ``I found myself not knowing what to do standing there and looking at pictures and then getting ready to go back into the series and you just kind of watch. But I tried to help Jake as much as I could.''
Delhomme said he's been impressed with Carr's professionalism.
``David has been great from day one, but I didn't have the notion he'd be any different,'' Delhomme said. ``He's been extremely helpful.''
And a chance to be even a bigger help this week. Carr knows the ins and outs of the Texans under Kubiak better than anyone. In a league where teams go to great to get an edge on an opponent - see the New England spying case - Carr could have a lot to offer the Panthers' coaching staff.
``If they ask the right question, I'll give them the right answer,'' Carr said. ``I've got a lot of knowledge. But Gary is going to tweak it a little bit. He understands where I'm at right now and he knows what I know.''
Carr plans to have dinner with several old teammates Saturday night. But he insists he'll remember which sideline he's on the next day.
``It will be different but I've worn these colors now and I'm kind of used to the Panthers,'' Carr said. ``I kind of like what we did last week and I'm pumped up.''

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