Panthers release Brenton Bersin despite ties to team owner

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers wide receiver Brenton Bersin held a unique place in NFL history because last season he became the first Wofford player to appear in an NFL game since team owner Jerry Richardson in 1959.

Now he’s gone.

Bersin was among the first players the Panthers released on Saturday morning as they moved to reduce the roster to 53 players.

It’s not a huge surprise, although Bersin had a good training camp and played in 15 games last season. His release is a sign the Panthers are looking for more talent around quarterback Cam Newton after losing Kelvin Benjamin and Stephen Hill to season-ending knee injuries.

Bersin was more of a role player at receiver and on special teams. He caught only 13 passes for 151 yards last season.

Bersin's role can be filled by third-string quarterback Joe Webb, who played wide receiver last season and plays on all four special teams units.

The Panthers likely will go into the Sept. 13 opener at receiver with Jerricho Cotchery, Devin Funchess, Corey Brown, Ted Ginn Jr. and Kevin Norwood, who was acquired in a trade with Seattle on Monday.

But look for the Panthers to keep a close eye on the waiver wire for receivers.