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Panthers sign P Harris


CHARLOTTE – The Panthers have signed free agent Nick Harris, a punter with 11 NFL seasons under his belt.

Harris served as the Jacksonville Jaguars' punter the last 11 games of 2011 but was released when the Jaguars picked punter Bryan Anger in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

The Panthers used a sixth-round draft pick to select Wisconsin punter Brad Nortman, who will now compete with Harris for the spot that had been held by Jason Baker the previous seven seasons.

"Nick is a veteran who has kicked well in the league," Panthers general manager Marty Hurney said. "When he became available, we thought it was a good opportunity to bring him in to compete for the job."

Harris, who kicked collegiately at California, was a fourth-round draft pick of the Denver Broncos in 2001 but didn't make the final roster. The Cincinnati Bengals claimed him off waivers, and Harris punted for the Bengals for two full seasons and the first five games of the 2003 season before being waived.

The Detroit Lions signed Harris a week later, and he served as their punter for the remainder of the 2003 season and then for the next seven seasons before being waived prior to last season.

Harris has averaged 42.5 yards per punt over the course of his NFL career on 876 punts. He hasn't had a punt blocked since 2004.

Between the pros and college, Harris has logged nearly 1,200 punts. His career punts (322) and yards (13,621) at California still stand as Football Bowl Subdivision records.

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