Panthers to place K Zane Gonzalez on IR

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  • Carolina Panthers
    Carolina Panthers
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  • Zane Gonzalez
    Zane Gonzalez
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One of the better stories for the Carolina Panthers in 2021 had its final chapter written on Wednesday.

In an expected step, as first reported by NFL network insider Ian Rapoport, the team will place kicker Zane Gonzalez on the injured reserve. With just three games remaining, the move effectively puts an end to Gonzalez’s standout campaign.

The fifth-year veteran, who had to be helped off the Highmark Stadium field this past Sunday, injured his quad in pregame warmups of the Week 15 matchup with the Buffalo Bills. Luckily though, as also noted by Rapoport, the setback is not as serious as was initially believed.

Gonzalez’s absence forced the Panthers to not only keep its offense out on the field for additional fourth downs and two-point attempts during the loss, but it also saw wide receiver Brandon Zylstra assume kickoff duties. That won’t continue to be the case moving forward, though, as Carolina added an actual kicker in Lirim Hajrullahu on Tuesday.

An in-season signing ahead of the team’s Week 2 contest against the New Orleans Saints, Gonzalez finally gave the Panthers a much needed dose of stability at the position. He finishes 2021 having converted on 20 of his 22 field goals and 22 of his 23 extra points.

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