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The Panthers sniffed around some veteran quarterback options this offseason [url=]Sam Mills Jersey[/url] , but never brought one in.

And for the moment, it appears they may be content with one of the options on hand.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera told reporters that Taylor Heinicke would start Thursday’s preseason finale, the latest sign that he has leapfrogged Garrett Gilbert for the clipboard role behind Cam Newton.

Heinicke lacks what you’d call NFL experience. He’s played one game, thrown one pass, completed it for 10 yards, giving him a sweet 108.3 passer rating.

But he’s been the more impressive of the options on hand, showing an ability to extend plays with his feet during the preseason.

The Panthers let longtime caddy Derek Anderson walk in free agency (where he remains) [url=]Sherrick McManis Jersey[/url] , since his “familiarity with the offense” card was obsolete with the firing of coordinator Mike Shula and the hiring of Norv Turner.

If something happened to Newton in the regular season, their faith may waver, but Heinicke (who spent time with Turner in Minnesota) seems to have taken the lead for that role now.

Former NFL quarterback Oliver Luck is leaving his high-ranking position at the NCAA to become commissioner of the XFL, the second edition of professional wrestling mogul Vince McMahon’s football league.

McMahon announced the hire Tuesday, four months after unveiling plans to relaunch the XFL, which folded in 2001 after its only season. The new XFL is scheduled to begin in 2020. Luck will start his new job July 1.

He said the XFL presents an opportunity to reimagine football, from how it is played to how it is delivered and consumed by fans.

”Opportunities like this come along very infrequently [url=]David Njoku Jersey[/url] ,” Luck told AP in a phone interview. ”You’ve got Vince, who is a visionary. A well-capitalized effort. A guy who has passion for the game, but realizes that there are others who have lived and breathed the game for decades who he was able to bring on board.

”An incredibly fascinating time in terms of technology that exists to engage fans. All of those combined led me to believe the key ingredients to a successful launch are there to deliver great football, which I think was one of the failings of the original league.”

Luck said McMahon assured him the XFL will be a more serious endeavor than the first time around, when the league tried to use some of the WWE’s sexed-up, tough-talking antics to spice up second-rate football.

”Vince and others have really looked clear-eyed at the original XFL and acknowledged there wasn’t enough focus put on the game itself,” Luck said.

Luck [url=]Walter Payton Jersey[/url] , the father of Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, played four seasons for the Houston Oilers after being drafted in the second round out of West Virginia in 1982. He graduated from University of Texas law school in 1987.

Luck went on to a successful career in sports management in the professional and college ranks. He joined the NCAA in 2014 as executive vice president of regulatory affairs and strategic partnerships.

Luck has served as president of the now defunct NFL Europe and was general manager for two of the league’s teams in Germany. He was later president and general manager of the Houston Dynamo, leading the franchise to two MLS Cup titles. Before joining the NCAA, he spent four years as athletic director of West Virginia, orchestrating the school’s move to the Big 12.

”Oliver and I share the same vision and passion for reimagining the game of football,” McMahon said in a statement. ”His experience as both an athlete and executive will ensure the long-term success of the XFL.”

At the NCAA, Luck oversaw all NCAA enforcement [url=]Cedric Ogbuehi Jersey[/url] , academic and membership affairs and athlete eligibility.

”Oliver Luck has been a key member of my leadership team and he has done a superb job at the NCAA over the last three years,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a statement. ”His vision and insight have been invaluable to our schools and the national office. Oliver’s values and leadership skills helped keep the Association focused on supporting student-athletes.”

The XFL plans to have eight league-owned teams, 40-man rosters and a 10-week regular season during the NFL’s offseason. Host cities and stadiums are now being sought by the league through requests for proposals.

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