When Ryan Kalil went down in Week 5 last year with a foot injury, the Panthers had to turn to a familiar face at center: Geoff Hangartner. And with more injuries this year, its likely Hangartner will play another large role.
Filling in at center is nothing new for Hangartner. He first started for the Panthers when then-starting center Justin Hartwig went on the injured reserve after Week 1 in 2006.
The Panthers drafted 6-foot-4, 315-pound Edmund Kugbila in the fourth round of this years draft in hopes of him competing to be the starting right guard. He was available for little more than bike workouts in OTAs, however, due to a sore leg, and he hasnt been able to compete in training camp.
Carolina also recently brought in former Panther Travelle Wharton, who was cut by the Bengals two weeks ago, for a physical. He is another option, should the Panthers want more offensive line depth.
But for now, the Panthers will stick with Hangartner, whos started 55 games at center and guard for Carolina in his two stints with the team over six seasons.
Although Hangartner can see the Panthers are looking at competition for his starting role, he doesnt need any more motivation going into training camp.
Theres push every year, Hangartner said. Theres always competition in training camp; it happens every year. You just have to go out there and compete.
When Ryan Kalil was given a routine day off Tuesday, Hangartner shifted to center and Garry Williams was plugged in as the first-team right guard.
While the transition back to center isnt tough for Hangartner, hes knows its a tough transition for the team.
Well, the hiccup is that Ryan Kalils not in there, Hangartner said. Were at our best when Kalils playing center; hes the best center in the game in my opinion. Its not a huge issue communication-wise, the only thing is that Ryans not playing.
Ive played a lot of center in my career, so you just have to do more communicating at center. Its not a huge change for me.
There are going to be uncertainties with the offensive line this year, but with Hangartners versatility and veteran presence, hes sure to play a key role again.
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email email@example.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less