Inside the Panthers

Graham Gano ‘feels good,’ but Panthers plan to work out insurance kickers

Carolina Panthers kicker Graham Gano provided his team’s only points in a 17-3 loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday, but his knee injury has the team trying out insurance kickers this week.
Carolina Panthers kicker Graham Gano provided his team’s only points in a 17-3 loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday, but his knee injury has the team trying out insurance kickers this week. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Carolina Panthers kicker Graham Gano said he doesn’t want to get into specifics, but he seems to be working through some sort of knee injury or aggravation after he showed up on Friday’s injury report.

After Sunday’s game in Chicago, in which Gano was responsible for Carolina’s only three points with a 36-yard field goal in the second quarter, he had a large bag of ice around his knee in the locker room.

On Monday, Gano said he feels “really good.”

“You know, I hit the ball well yesterday and it just felt good all throughout the game,” he said.

Gano declined to comment on when the injury popped up during the days before the game or whether it was due to usage or to contact, but repeated that he felt great.

“All my kickoffs felt really good too, and I feel like that’s probably the kick that exerts the most force,” he said. “So that’s good.”

Still, Carolina will work out kickers this week, a source confirmed to the Observer on Monday. These kickers are eligible for the practice squad where, if signed, they will serve as insurance if Gano is still able to perform as he has this year.

Gano has hit 16 of 17 field goal attempts with a 48-yard long and 11 of 12 extra points so far this season.

NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport tweeted on Monday afternoon that Carolina planned to work out kicker Andrew Franks on Tuesday. Franks was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute by Miami in 2015 but was released in September.

The Dallas Cowboys are reportedly evaluating a handful of available kickers who could be appealing options for the Panthers. Among these are Mike Nugent, Jason Myers, Sam Irwin Hill and Younghoe Koo.

Carolina at one point did have kicker insurance in rookie seventh-round draft pick Harrison Butker, but he was signed off their practice squad in late September. Butker has hit 13 of 14 field goal attempts in four games with the Chiefs, with a 53-yard long, and has hit all nine of his point-after attempts.

Jourdan Rodrigue: 704-358-5071, @jourdanrodrigue

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