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Left guard Travelle Wharton (toe) missed his second straight workout a week after Jeff Otah (knee) was placed on IR. Receiver Brandon LaFell (concussion) didn’t practice Thursday, either.

And now Fox has decided Pierre “gives us the best chance” instead of Pike, who was 6 of 12 for 47 yards while playing the fourth quarter of Carolina’s 34-3 loss to New Orleans on Nov. 7.

“You’re always disappointed if you’re not the guy,” Pike said. “At the same point you don’t have much time to hang your head.”

St. Pierre was a two-year starter at Boston College before being selected by the Steelers. But he never was able to rise above No. 3 quarterback there or in Baltimore or Arizona.

He went four straight seasons without throwing a pass before a brief appearance for Arizona last season. He said he had a back injury and the Cardinals weren’t committed to bringing him back.

St. Pierre had only one offseason workout, with New England, but wasn’t offered a deal. He then turned down a contract for about $50,000 to play for Omaha in the United Football League.

“I’ve played long enough in the league where (money) wasn’t a huge issue for me,” St. Pierre said. “With a young kid, I didn’t want to uproot him and bring him to Omaha, Neb.”

UFL contracts don’t have an out clause to go to the NFL, which reduced the available pool of QBs for Carolina to choose from. So now St. Pierre is not only on an NFL roster, he’s starting.

“I don’t know how many times this has ever happened really,” he said.

The Panthers did have a similar situation in 2007, when they brought in 43-year-old Vinny Testaverde on Tuesday and he won a game at Arizona on Sunday.

John Fox came in to me on Wednesday and said, ‘Vinny Testaverde came in and did this three years ago,’” St. Pierre said. “And I said, ‘Well, Vinny has a little better resume than I do.’

“I appreciate they have enough faith to throw me out there. I hope I can reward them by holding my own Sunday.”

Notes: DE Charles Johnson (hip) missed practice Thursday after being limited a day earlier. … LB Jon Beason (knee) was limited after sitting out Wednesday.