Panthers, Browns turn to rookies to improve kicking game

Joey Slye

An undrafted rookie last season, he’ll kick for the Carolina Panthers after they put kicker Graham Gano on injured reserve. Head coach Ron Rivera said the team signed Slye, 23, “on a whim” in August when Gano had recurring pain in his plant leg during training camp. Slye made 7 of 8 field-goal tries during the preseason, including all three attempts from beyond 50 yards. “It wasn’t what I was expecting coming in here,” Slye said. He’s known for having a big leg but made only 72.2% of his field-goal attempts at Virginia Tech. “He’s shown us every reason to be confident in him,” Rivera said. “But we’ll see. That’s why you play on Sunday.”

Jamie Gillan

The 22-year-old punter was at a bar when the Cleveland Browns called Saturday and told him he had beaten out Britton Colquitt, a Pro Bowl alternate last season. Gillan, known for his flowing hair, Scottish brogue and rugby-style tackling ability, said he was not overly confident he would displace Colquitt. “He’s been in the NFL for 10 years, so I actually had no idea, to be honest,” Gillan said. Gillan’s excited about Sunday’s opener against the Titans, and he imagines Cleveland fans will be riled up. “I’m sure it’s going to be bumpin’,” he said. “I’ve never experienced an in-season game before.”

Associated Press

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Panthers-Browns-turn-to-rookies-to-improve-14407886.php.

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