The Carolina Panthers released veteran punter Mike Scifres among several moves to get below the 75-player roster limit before the Tuesday afternoon deadline.
Safety Trenton Robinson, who had pectoral surgery last week, also was released, while defensive end Rakim Cox (back) and wideout LaRon Byrd (concussion) were placed on injured reserve.
Cornerback Leonard Johnson, who had offseason Achilles surgery, was moved to the reserve/non-football injury list and will be required to miss at least the first six weeks of the season.
The moves left the Panthers with 74 players on the active roster. Teams must set their 53-player, regular-season rosters by Saturday.
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Carolina signed Scifres in June to a one-year deal worth $1 million, although only $250,000 was guaranteed. Scifres, 35, was coming off knee surgery to his non-kicking leg, but the Panthers hoped he could fill the void left when Brad Nortman went to Jacksonville in free agency.
But Scifres’ surgically repaired leg never looked healthy, and then he hurt his kicking leg last week against New England during his first punt in a preseason game.
The Panthers acquired former Browns punter Andy Lee on Monday in a trade that sent rookie punter Kasey Redfern and a fourth-round draft pick to Cleveland, and effectively sealed Scifres’ fate.
With the Panthers built to make another run at the Super Bowl, general manager Dave Gettleman said he didn’t want to risk using an inexperienced punter.
“We signed Mike and we knew he had the plant leg issue last year. We knew him. Ron (Rivera) had been with him in San Diego. We felt he could potentially be an answer. Unfortunately it didn’t work out,” Gettleman said. “To have a team like this and to go into a season with a rookie punter is really rolling the bones.”