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Graham Gano: Carolina Panthers sign kicker to long-term deal

Graham Gano: Carolina Panthers sign kicker to long-term deal
UPI

March 6 (UPI) — The Carolina Panthers signed kicker Graham Gano to a long-term contract on Tuesday.

Gano, 30, is now under contract through 2021. He made 29-of-30 attempts last season and led the league with his 96.7 percent field goal conversion rate en route to his first Pro Bowl selection. Gano joined the NFL in 2009 as an undrafted free agent with the Washington Redskins. He signed with the Panthers in 2012.

The nine-year veteran also set a franchise record and tied the NFL postseason record with a 58-yard field goal in the NFC Wild Card round of the 2018 NFL playoffs on Jan. 7 against the New Orleans Saints.

He led the league with an 85.4 touchback percentage, hitting a Panthers-record 70 of his kickoffs into the end zone. Gano is the league-leader in touchback percentage since 2013, hitting 76.3 percent of his kickoffs into the end zone.

Gano’s 670 career points rank second in franchise history since he joined the Panthers.

The Pro Bowl leg was set to be an unrestricted free agent if he hadn’t reached an agreement with the franchise before the league’s 4 p.m. franchise tag deadline.

Gano was one of serval Panthers players who cleaned out his locker after the final game of the season at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.

“For them having confidence in me at the beginning of the year meant a lot to me,” Gano told the team website in January. “I feel like this year was really good. I’m blessed to have the opportunity I had this year with the team.”

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