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Panthers start Chase Blackburn over Jon Beason

Ron Rivera, Chase Blackburn

Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera, right, talks with middle linebacker Chase Blackburn before an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert)

AP

The return of a healthy Jon Beason was supposed to be one of the signs of hope for the Panthers front seven this year.

But he’s obviously not healthy, and now he’s not even starting.

The Panthers started with Chase Blackburn against the Giants instead of Beason, an indication of how far the former first-rounder has fallen.

Blackburn hadn’t played a snap of defense for the Panthers prior to Sunday’s game, but Beason has been victimized in coverage often.

With a contract that can void after this season following a restructure, and coming off microfracture surgery, it’s not looking good for Beason’s future there.