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#pounditWednesday, January 26, 2022

Panthers kicker Graham Gano could begin season on IR with knee injury

Graham Gano

The Carolina Panthers may have to begin the season with a rookie kicker, as veteran Graham Gano is battling a leg injury that seems like it could keep him out through Week 1 and beyond.

Gano missed the final four weeks of the 2018 season with an injury to his non-kicking leg. He then participated in Carolina’s offseason program, but he has not made any appearances in the preseason as he battles the knee injury. According to Tiffany Blackmon of NFL Network, Gano may have to start the regular season on injured reserve.

The Panthers had already been holding somewhat of a kicking competition between Gano and rookie Joey Slye, and the undrafted free agent out of Virginia Tech may win by default. Slye has a strong leg and has made field goals from 54 and 55 yards while going 6-for-6 overall during the preseason, so there’s a chance the Panthers could just stick with him permanently.

Gano converted 85.5 percent of his kicks last year but was just 16-of-26 from 50 yards or longer. The 32-year-old was a Pro Bowler in 2017.

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