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Panthers sign QB Testaverde for 1 year

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Vinny Testaverde isn't finished yet — even at age 43.

The Carolina Panthers, desperate for a backup quarterback with Jake Delhomme out for the season, signed Testaverde to a one-year deal on Wednesday.

Testaverde, the No. 1 overall pick by Tampa Bay in the 1987 draft, is joining his sixth franchise. He has played in 226 games with 208 starts. He was cut by New England before the start of the season.

"We decided he was our best option," general manager Marty Hurney said. "He brings experience. He throws the ball extremely well. He's a fierce competitor. It seems like he'll be an extremely good fit for us."

Testaverde will provide insurance behind David Carr, who became the Panthers' No. 1 QB on Monday when the team announced Delhomme would have season-ending elbow surgery.

Carr himself is banged up after suffering a back injury in Carolina's win over New Orleans on Sunday. Matt Moore, who played briefly Sunday when Carr was being treated, is the only other quarterback on the roster.

Delhomme was officially placed on injured reserve Wednesday to make room for Testaverde, who flew into town early Wednesday and passed a physical.

Hurney said he has no concerns with Testaverde's age. He'll turn 44 next month.

"If you watched him in preseason, he threw the ball extremely well," Hurney said. "He played in two preseason games — one was against us — and he still showed the ability to compete in this league.

"He's a guy who take extremely good care of himself."

The available pool of quarterbacks was thin, and the Panthers were in competition with their opponent on Sunday, Arizona. The Cardinals signed Tim Rattay on Tuesday after it was learned Matt Leinart would miss the rest of the season with a broken collarbone.

The 6-foot-5 Testaverde certainly brings experience. He ranks sixth in NFL history 6,529 pass attempts, 3,693 completions and 45,281 passing yards. He's ninth with 270 touchdown passes and tied for 10th with 30 300-yard passing games.

Testaverde's best statistical season came in 1996 with Baltimore, when he made the first of his Pro Bowl appearances, throwing for 4,177 yards and 33 touchdowns.

Testaverde also made the Pro Bowl in 1998 with the New York Jets.