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Notebook: 2013 CAROLINA PANTHERS TRAINING CAMP

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Carolina Panthers FG kicker Graham Gano nails 63-yarder at free Fan Fest

Graham Gano got his biggest cheer of the preseason when he nailed a 63-yarder during kicking drills on Saturday.

Gano, the incumbent kicker after the Panthers signed him midway through last season, booted one from 58 yards just before that. Undrafted rookie kicker Morgan Lineberry matched him at 58 but came up short from 63.

Gano said that wasn’t even the longest one he’s hit. While 63 yards would tie the NFL record for longest in-game field goal, Gano said he hit a 75-yarder during warmups in the Mile High City of Denver.

“Generally I don’t try to hit long ones – past 50 yards – because realistically you only get between five and eight a year,” Gano said. “You really try to be accurate inside of 50 and that’s what I’ve been focusing on this camp.”

Coach’s Day: The Panthers granted 8-year-old Jack Bolton his wish, making him associate head coach to Ron Rivera during Fan Fest.

General manager Dave Gettleman signed Bolton to a one day associate head coaching contract, and Bolton was given his own locker, uniform, challenge flag and whistle.

Bolton has spinal muscular atrophy, and through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Panthers learned of his wish: “I want to coach with Ron Rivera.”

After practice several Panthers visited with Bolton on the field to speak with him and sign autographs.

New guys: Newly acquired guard Chris Scott and safety Ricardo Silva made their Panthers’ practice debut, and Rivera had his eye on the players during individual drills.

“Scott’s a big powerful, physical young man and Silva’s a rangy safety,” Rivera said. ‘Guys that can fit some spots for us and give us an opportunity to see what we got there. Who knows? We want to give everyone an opportunity.”

The Panthers waived/injured defensive lineman Linden Gaydosh on Friday, but Rivera said the team plans to sign him back and place him on injured reserve. He said the coaches liked what they saw out of the Canadian Football League’s top draft pick from 2012 and want to give him a chance when he recovers from a back injury.


Observations

• Cam Newton looked sharp, and Rivera said he was impressed with all the quarterbacks’ throws. Newton had just one interception on a late pass to Ted Ginn Jr. on the sideline. Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn was able to get in front of it and pick it off before flipping the ball into the stands.

• Tight end Brandon Williams finished practice a lot better than he began it. He had two bad drops early in team drills but made up for it later with two touchdowns catches from Jimmy Clausen.

• By the end of practice there weren’t nearly 20,000 fans left, but that doesn’t mean it’s not remarkably loud when the remaining crowd screams for Newton to come sign autographs at their section.

• Frank Alexander had one of his better practices. During one-on-one drills as well as team drills, Alexander did well against his man on the left side. And he did it all without his back at 100 percent.

• Rookie guard Edmund Kugbila sat out again with a sore leg and hamstring strain. He said he’s been taking in as much as he can on the sideline, but he expects to get back to action early this week.

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