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Medlock booted; Gano in

Carolina replaces its slumping placekicker with former Redskin

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The Panthers’ disappointing season has cost another man his job.

Carolina waived kicker Justin Medlock and signed former Washington kicker Graham Gano on Tuesday, two days after Medlock missed his third consecutive field goal.

Medlock, a former CFL standout whose previous NFL experience was one game with Kansas City in 2007, made his first seven field goals this season before missing three in a row. He hooked a 40-yard attempt wide right in the second quarter of the 27-21 overtime loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday.

Panthers interim general manager Brandon Beane said the team was considering alternatives at the position prior to Sunday’s loss.

“This is a production-based business. His position is one where it’s real easy to evaluate makes or misses,” Beane said. “We just thought we needed to look at what was out there. We just felt Gano was a good option for us.”

Gano and former San Diego kicker Nate Kaeding worked out for the Panthers on Tuesday. Kaeding, the most accurate field-goal kicker in NFL history among those with at least 100 attempts, was released from injured reserve by the Chargers last month after he recovered from a groin injury.

“They both kicked great,” Beane said. “Ultimately, we thought (Gano) was the best fit long term.”

Gano, who was cut by the Redskins in August after they signed Billy Cundiff, signed a two-year deal with the Panthers, Beane said. Kaeding is eligible for free agency at the end of the season and would have been a six-game rental.

Gano, 25, who was born in Scotland and grew up in Pensacola, Fla., becomes the Panthers’ third kicker since the team released original Panther John Kasay before the 2010 season.

Gano, who was undrafted out of Florida State in 2009, made 73.8 percent (59 of 80) of his field goals in three seasons with the Redskins from 2009-11. He was 31-of-41 on field goals last season, when he had an NFL-high five field goals blocked.

The Panthers (2-8) fired special teams coordinator Brian Murphy last week and promoted assistant special teams coach Richard Rodgers. But the unit struggled again against Tampa Bay, with a fumbled punt and a failed fake punt.

Medlock, 29, spent three seasons in the CFL when the Chiefs cut him after he went 1-for-2 on field goals in the 2007 opener. He beat out veteran Olindo Mare during the preseason, and was productive on kickoffs.

The Panthers are first in the league in kickoff return yardage allowed.

“Justin’s a great guy who gave it his all, and a great teammate,” Beane said. “Unfortunately in the end it didn’t work out. I hate it for him. We wish him the best.”

Medlock said he didn’t necessarily agree with the decision, but understood it.

“I’m not here to make excuses. They were good snaps, good holds. You’ve just got to make kicks,” Medlock said. “You miss two kicks in the NFL, you can be unemployed.”

After going 5-for-5 on field goals at Chicago’s Soldier Field in Week 8, Medlock had a 50-yard try blocked at Washington before missing a 43-yarder against Denver.

Medlock, whose girlfriend is competing in the LPGA’s qualifying school next week, said he hopes to get another chance.

“I definitely would love to keep kicking in the NFL. But I definitely know it’s hard to get another shot,” Medlock said. “I started this whole journey to try to get back and play one more game. … To hang your head – yeah, I got released. But I went 5-for-5 at one of the hardest places to kick. That was awesome.”

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