Hoover near the end? Not just yet

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
Hoover I spotted this fine story by my friend Tom Berry this morning and it made me feel a little old. Berry writes about how the end could be coming for Carolina fullback Brad Hoover.

I remember when Hoover first made Carolina's roster as an undrafted rookie out of Western Carolina. Now, I see Hoover is 33.

The Panthers drafted Anthony Fiammetta in the fourth round this year and he suddenly becomes the heir apparent to Hoover. But you know what? The Panthers have been drafting heir apparent to Hoover for most of this decade and they still haven't been able to get the guy off the field. Remember Kyle Johnson and Casey Moore? I think there were a couple other fullbacks brought in at different points, but I can't even remember their names.

That's because Hoover was so good at doing all the little things that nobody ever could gain any ground on him. He's been a favorite of the coaching staff and of every running back who ever has run behind him because the guy is just solid all the way around and he's a great locker-room guy.

That said, the Panthers have used Hoover heavily. In recent years, they went with Nick Goings, who was more of a tailback, as his backup and Hoover had a huge work load in practices and games. That's got to take a toll on a body.

Fiammetta could be the eventual replacement for Hoover, but I don't see the change coming right away. As long as Hoover's body holds up, he's going to be the guy the Panthers want out there.