Panthers release kicker Graham Gano

Graham Gano

CHARLOTTE — The Panthers on Thursday released kicker Graham Gano.

Gano missed the final four games of 2018 and all of 2019 with an injury in his left, plant leg. 

As recently as Wednesday, head coach Matt Rhule said while he hadn't yet seen Gano kick, the reports from the medical staff had been positive.

Gano, who came to Carolina midway through the 2012 season, ends his tenure No. 2 on the franchise list with 742 points (165 field goals, 247 extra points). During his six and a half seasons with the Panthers, he made 85.5 percent of his field goal attempts and went 95.0 percent on extra points. He also tied the second-longest field goal in league history with a 63-yard game-winner against the Giants in 2018.

Joey Slye, who replaced Gano last year, is now the lone kicker on the roster. Slye set a franchise record and led the NFL with eight made field goals of 50-plus yards. In all, he was 25-of-32 on field goals and 31-of-35 on extra points. 

The Panthers also on Thursday released defensive end Chris Smith. The seventh-year veteran and Salisbury, N.C. native most recently played nine games for the Browns last season.

View photos of Panthers kicker Graham Gano in his first six seasons in Carolina.

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