CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Joey Slye entered coaching camp for the Carolina Panthers with out competitors at place-kicker and ended it with out a job.
The Panthers launched Slye on Saturday in favor of Ryan Santoso, acquired Thursday in a commerce with the New York Giants after he misplaced the kicking job to Graham Gano.
Mockingly, it was Gano that misplaced his job to Slye final summer season.
Much more ironic, Santoso wore No. 9 in Friday’s preseason finale towards the Pittsburgh Steelers — the quantity that belonged to Gano from 2012 till his launch final July.
“It was a reasonably humorous joke after I came upon [I had his number] after which I used to be capable of inform him,” Santoso mentioned after the 34-9 win over the Steelers. “I used to be like, ‘I’m going to attempt to do my greatest Graham Gano impersonation tonight.'”
The 6-foot-5, 258-pound Santoso was so spectacular in his Carolina debut that he left little doubt he would substitute Slye, who could not come out of his preseason droop.
Santoso, who got here into the NFL with the Detroit Lions in 2018 as an undrafted participant out of Minnesota and kicked for the Tennessee Titans in 2019, was 2-for-2 on subject objective makes an attempt, together with a 52-yarder that ricocheted by means of off the correct upright, and 3-for-3 on further factors Friday.
Slye missed his solely subject objective try, a 49-yarder, and was 1-for-1 on further factors.
“He is an exquisite individual, and he is labored actually onerous,” coach Matt Rhule mentioned of Slye on Friday night time. “He is made numerous kicks and he is carried out numerous good issues, and he is simply in a kind of locations proper now the place he is struggling. Whenever you battle at numerous different positions, folks do not know it, however while you battle at that place, sadly it is magnified.”
Slye’s struggles started within the preseason opener, when he missed a 43-yard further level and 63-yard subject objective. He missed a 37-yard subject objective within the second preseason sport.
Rhule put his kicker, who had been working with a sports activities psychologist to enhance his psychological strategy, on discover that night time, and normal supervisor Scott Fitterer signed Dominik Eberle on Tuesday.
Eberle, who additionally wore No. 9 for about 24 hours, gained a head-to-head kicking battle with Slye in Wednesday’s observe. However by noon Thursday, Fitterer had despatched a conditional 2022 seventh-round decide to the Giants for Santoso and Eberle was launched. The decide turns into official if Santoso is on the roster the primary two video games.
Deep snapper J.J. Jansen had combined feelings concerning the transfer. Whereas he likes Santoso and was a long-time pal of Gano’s, he respects Slye and tried to console him in the course of the sport. Different Carolina gamers additionally approached Slye when it turned obvious his future was in jeopardy.
“He is been a brother to those guys and he is labored with these guys, so that they wish to see him succeed,” Rhule mentioned of Slye. “It is the ability of the locker room and the brotherhood you are attempting to create.”
Now the strain is on Santoso, maybe the most important kicker within the NFL, to maintain the job. And he has Gano to thank for serving to put him on this place.
“He helped me a lot,” Santoso mentioned. “He simply gave me a ton of knowledge. It was actually cool strolling off the [Giants] observe subject Thursday and he was one of many first guys there to offer me a giant hug.
“He had the most important, pleased smile on his face to see me going to a spot like this that he is aware of is absolutely, actually good they usually care concerning the gamers.”