Kicker Graham Gano is Carolina's 2017 Ed Block Courage Award winner. The award, named for the longtime head athletic trainer of the Baltimore Colts who was a pioneer in his profession and a respected humanitarian, honors one player from each NFL team who shows courage on and off the field.
Gano overcame a frustrating 2016 season where he suffered a an injury to his left plant foot and yet continued to play through it, never missing a game and handling Carolina's kickoff and field goal duties.
Gano went through offseason surgery and then won the starting job for 2017 in training camp after the Panthers drafted a kicker for the first time in franchise history.
In 2017, Gano put together one of the best statistical seasons for a kicker in franchise history, earning a selection to the 2018 Pro Bowl. He hit 29-of-30 field goal attempts for a 96.7 percentage, a mark that led the NFL and set a franchise record, besting the old percentage record of 92.8 set by Joe Nedney in 2000.Gano hit the game-winning field goal as time expired in Carolina's thrilling victory at New England, helping Carolina become just the fifth different team to win in New England in the last five years. Gano's 29 field goals were clutch for a Panthers team that went 7-1 in games decided by seven or fewer points and 4-0 in games decided by three or fewer points.
Gano led the NFL with a touchback percentage of 85.4, booming a franchise-record 70 of his kickoffs into the end zone.
Gano did all this while also battling a knee injury for several weeks in the middle of the season.
Active in the community, Gano visits a patient from Levine Children's Hospital before every game and is a regular during the team's group visits throughout the year. For the last several years, he has represented the Panthers as the team's Play 60 ambassador, teaching kids healthy habits and the importance of 60 minutes of daily physical activity. With the Fuel Up to Play 60 program, he has done school visits, dairy farm visits and has spoken at national conventions.