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Panthers trim roster to 53 players

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Justin Brown (15) tries to evade Carolina Panthers defensive back James Dockery (31) in the second quarter of a NFL preseason football game on Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014 in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene Puskar) Photo: Gene Puskar

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Justin Brown (15) tries to evade Carolina Panthers defensive back James Dockery (31) in the second quarter of a NFL preseason football game on Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014 in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene Puskar)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Panthers quarterback Cam Newton will enter the season with a new group of wide receivers.

The Panthers trimmed their roster to 53 players by cutting Tavarres King, the only wide receiver remaining from last year's roster.

The Panthers also cut running back Darrin Reeves, fullback Mike Zordich, wide receiver Marcus Lucas and offensive linemen Chris Scott, Andrew McDonald, Derek Dennis and Kevin Hughes.

On defense, the Panthers cut tackles Drake Nevis, Micanor Regis and Casey Walker, linebackers Denicos Allen, Adarius Glanton and D.J. Smith, cornerbacks Carrington Byndom, James Dockery and Josh Thomas, safeties Robert Lester and Tom Nelson.

Tight end Mike McNeill and safety Anderson Russell were waived-injured.

The Panthers also placed defensive end Frank Alexander on the reserve-suspended list.

The Panthers had six wide receivers on last year's roster, but released veteran Steve Smith in the offseason while Brandon LaFell, Ted Ginn Jr. and Domenik Hixon opted to sign elsewhere in free agency. Marvin McNutt was part of the team's first round of cuts.

The Panthers talked about developing King and McNutt, but neither player took the next step in the preseason games.

Rookie Kelvin Benjamin, the team's first-round draft pick, is expected to start alongside Jerricho Cotchery. Jason Avant is the team's No. 3 receiver and Brenton Bersin and undrafted rookie Philly Brown also made the roster.

Scott, Lester and Thomas all started games last season for Carolina.

Scott started eight games for the Panthers last season at guard, but was beat out by rookie Trai Turner, who is expected to start despite battling injury problems in the preseason.

Lester started at safety when the Panthers ran into injury problems. Thomas opened the 2013 season as the starting cornerback, but lost his job to rookie Melvin White four games in.

The Panthers kept eight rookies on the roster and three quarterbacks, including Joe Webb.

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AP NFL websites: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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