Max Henson Staff Writer
Charlotte, NC August 1, 2013 – SPARTANBURG, S.C. – News of veteran guard Geoff Hangartner’s release stunned his now former Panthers teammates.
“It was a shock to all of us,” left guard Amini Silatolu said.
Players understand that it’s all part of profession football, but that doesn’t eliminate element of surprise in news of this nature.
“We all know what kind of business we’re in, how serious it is,” left tackle Jordan Gross said. “There’s a lot of job changes, and when you lose a friend it’s tough. But you just hope that management knows what they’re doing and that it will make us a better team. That’s really what you have to focus on.”
Hangartner – a fifth-round draft pick by the Panthers in 2005 from Texas A&M – played six seasons with team (2005-08 and 2011-12). He started 55 games in Carolina, spending time at both guard and center during his tenure in Carolina.
Hangartner started at right guard last year, then switched to center following Ryan Kalil‘s season-ending foot injury.
Hangartner’s release will allow more opportunities for others, such as guard Garry Williams (who made nine starts last season, seven of those at right guard) and fourth-round draft pick Edmund Kugbila, who has been unable to practice thus far in training camp due to a hamstring injury.
“Garry Williams is a guy that we believe in. He was already starting to split reps with (Geoff),” Gross said. “But after that it puts a lot of pressure on a lot of young guys who are unproven, and I think that’s by design. That’s what the team wanted to do and see who would rise to the top and prove their worth.
“There’s a ton of camp left, all the preseason games for people to win jobs and competition should bring out the best in people. We’ll see what they are really made of, and that’s the environment that’s been created here.”