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Panthers sign Geoff Hangartner to provide offensive line depth

The Panthers offensive line could look a lot like 2011 on Sunday when Carolina travels to San Francisco.

The team signed guard Geoff Hangartner on Tuesday, bringing back the offensive lineman for his third stint with the team. He previously played for the Panthers between 2005-2008 and 2011-2012.

Though it’s unclear who will start at right guard for the team after two injuries in last Sunday’s victory against the Falcons, it’s possible Hangartner will see the field. He would be joined on the line by left tackle Jordan Gross, left guard Travelle Wharton and center Ryan Kalil – a close-knit group that last played together during the 2011 season.

Carolina moved guard/center Jeff Byers to the injured reserve after he had surgery on his foot after an injury suffered in the final minute of the first half against Atlanta.

Starting right guard Chris Scott is day-to-day with a knee sprain he suffered near the end of the first half, and reserve lineman Nate Chandler played at offensive guard for the first time in his career during the second half on Sunday.

Hangartner’s signing was contingent upon him passing a physical Tuesday. The eight-year veteran was with the team when the Panthers reported to Wofford College but was cut during training camp in August in favor of younger players.

But Carolina has suffered a rash of injuries, especially at guard. Fourth-round pick Edmund Kugbila never saw a preseason snap and was placed on injured reserve before the regular season began.

Left guard Amini Silatolu and right guard Garry Williams, both opening-day starters, underwent season-ending knee surgeries earlier this year.

Jones: 704-358-5323; Twitter: @jjones9
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