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Carolina Panthers

Panthers keeping two kickers – for now


CHARLOTTE -- It's certainly unconventional, but it's how the Panthers are rolling right now.

A week before Carolina opens its season at San Francisco, a pair of kickers – Graham Gano and Harrison Butker – remain on the roster. 

"The thing is, we're happy with both of them," interim general manager Marty Hurney said Sunday. "It's a fluid process, but we're fortunate enough that we have two kickers that we really like, and we'll just see how that develops."

During training camp, head coach Ron Rivera implied the competition at kicker wasn't much of one. But then Gano, the incumbent and frontrunner, banged two attempts of 50-plus yards off the goalpost in the preseason. Butker, meanwhile, went 2-for-2, making 51- and 46-yarders.

"As far as I'm concerned," Gano said, "I am going to be here this week and that's how I'm preparing for the job. I feel like I am hitting the ball great.

"I've had a great camp. I've just got to come out to practice and work and get better." 

The Panthers are currently fielding and waiting on offers for either kicker, and there's a possibility each could still be on the roster next weekend.

"I would say if we go into Sunday with both," Hurney said, "you would think Graham Gano's going to be the kicker at this point."

But how much longer is Hurney willing to use an extra roster spot on a kicker?

"It could be a long time or it could be a short time," he said. "That's hard to answer.

"We'll just see how things transpire." 

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