The Panthers decided not to hold a roster spot for Graham Gano.
The team announced that the veteran kicker would be placed on injured reserve, ending his season.
There was some consideration that he might stay on the 53-man roster through tomorrow’s cuts, so he could possibly be activated midway through the season. Gano didn’t kick this preseason, as he dealt with a knee injury that kept him out of the final four games of last season.
“Both Graham and the team were optimistic throughout this process that his leg would improve enough to allow him to kick,” General Manager Marty Hurney said in a statement from the team. “Unfortunately, Graham still had pain in his plant leg each time he tried to resume kicking. These are tough decisions, and we discussed all options, but ultimately we decided to place Graham on injured reserve today.”
The move hands the job to Joey Slye, who was 7-of-8 on field goals in the preseason, including three from 50 yards or beyond.
The 32-year-old Gano is the kind of steady veteran kicker you’d usually want on a veteran team that’s built for a playoff run. He’s missed just three field goals in the last two seasons. He’s been with the Panthers since 2012.
He was among 24 moves the team announced Friday afternoon, leaving 13 more players to cut by tomorrow’s deadline.
The other players released include cornerback Corn Elder, running back Cameron Artis-Payne, quarterback Taylor Heinicke, cornerback Lorenzo Doss, wide receiver Aldrick Robinson, and long snapper Andew DePaola. They waived linebacker Brandon Bell, guard Tyler Catalina, center Parker Collins, defensive tackle Woodrow Hamilton, guard Taylor Hearn, tight end Cole Hunt, wide receiver Damion Jeanpiere, wide receiver Andre Levrone, wide receiver Jaydon Mickens, cornerback Ryan Pulley, wide receiver Rashad Ross, tight end Jason Vander Laan, linebacker Antoine Williams, and center John Yarbrough. They waived-injured guard Kofi Amichia and safety Damian Parms, and placed guard Kitt O'Brien on injured reserve.