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October 11, 2012

Panthers add center, sign free agent Thomas Austin

After losing starting center and Pro Bowler Ryan Kalil for the season, the Carolina Panthers signed Thomas Austin on Thursday.

Austin has been in the league since 2010, when he went undrafted out of Clemson and signed with the Minnesota Vikings. He was most recently a member of the New England Patriots practice squad before being cut on Oct. 2.

He played in three games with the Houston Texans in 2011.

Austin will first practice with the Panthers on Monday when the team returns from its mandated four days off during the bye week. Head coach Ron Rivera said on Wednesday that offensive guard Geoff Hangartner will shift to center and Jeff Byers and Garry Williams will compete for the open guard position.

--Jonathan Jones

Posted by Observer Sports on October 11, 2012 at 01:59 PM | Permalink


Should the Panthers draft a big bruiser of a Tackle to sure up our right side O-line or stick with drafting Defense? any thoughts? (assuming it will be close to a top 5 pick at this point)

Posted by: jason wilmington | Oct 11, 2012 3:14:58 PM

I heard Austin is taking out a full page ad in the observer, fully replacing Kalil.

Posted by: big gulps | Oct 11, 2012 3:15:39 PM

Jerry please sell the team. PLEASE

Posted by: RUN THE BALL DAMN IT | Oct 11, 2012 3:25:05 PM

This is the reason Fans are upset with Hurney when the need arises we fail to sign Quality FA's Be it at DT or OT or OG or center or CB or safety No offence against Austin but there are way too many Solid Fa centers/OG with real experiences

Posted by: kenneth picklesimer | Oct 11, 2012 3:44:43 PM

biggest. fairweather. fans. in. the. NFL.

Posted by: Shaun NJ | Oct 11, 2012 3:47:54 PM

WOW!!! Ryan Kalil should just retire now because "The Panthers" have just signed the next Hall of Fame center. PLEEEEEEEASE Jerry, just SELL THE D--N TEAM!!! I think you would do the entire city a HUGE favor!!! Go Panthers!!!

Posted by: C.Bax | Oct 11, 2012 4:15:46 PM

There has got to be somebody better than this guy out there.....

Posted by: Snowman | Oct 11, 2012 4:16:13 PM

your the biggest Fairweather fan in the NFL
some fans aren't blind & yea some actual know how poor of a GM Hurney is but if you like to be blinded your ahead stay that way just don't insult us real fans

Posted by: kenneth picklesimer | Oct 11, 2012 4:16:18 PM

The offensive line has actually played well againtst ATL and SEA. They gave plenty of time for Cam to throw. Defense is definitely the problem.

Posted by: themaster | Oct 11, 2012 4:35:58 PM

Uh, not quite. D wasnt the primary problem although our secondary is terrible. Our O wasnt executing and frankly the coaching (game clock management especially) has been deplorable. The decision not to bench Nakamura is simply mindblowing.

Firing Hurney should be considered, yes, but at this point in the middle of the season, how will that help our team?

Seriously some of you should stop parroting the BS on Bleacher Report and actually watch the games so you get your facts straight.

Posted by: manu4t | Oct 11, 2012 5:40:29 PM

cosign the biggest fairweather fan thing. I bet attendance for the oct. 21st game against the cowboys will be entirely cowboys fans.

next up the broncos will be all peyton manning jerseys. oh and people hopping BACK on the john fox bandwagon after jumping off MANY TIMES while he was here.

grass isn't always greener.

and no hurney doesn't need to be fired. the talent on this team is not the problem. the performance is. and they've only been blown out once by the giants and that can basically be entirely summed up by "2 fumbles by our return guy". you can't over come that. loss to tampa bay? close. seattle? close. atlanta? ridiculous close.

how you guys can overreact over a game of inches is nuts. start crying when your QB is blaine gabbert or your owner is jerry jones or your general manager is mike brown.

Posted by: charlottean | Oct 11, 2012 5:53:29 PM

Yes Jerry pls sell the team, to me for a $1, I can fix this team and make it better. By doing one thing.......Firing Hurney

Posted by: Bruce Payne | Oct 11, 2012 5:54:28 PM

its getting old all these so called panther fans crying fire this one ,sell the team crap.if ya dont like em go pull for some other team an post on there fan page.GO PANTHERS!!!!!!!

Posted by: panther beast | Oct 11, 2012 7:27:22 PM

I have seen people talk about upgrading the RT position but I think they should also be worried about LT. Jordan Gross is getting older and maybe passing out of his prime. He certainly hasn't looked good this season. I say draft a top prospect LT and move Gross back to RT to finish out his career.

Posted by: Nate | Oct 11, 2012 7:38:29 PM

Unless the Panthers address their weaknesses, they will continue to have the same problems. All championship teams have strong defenses, especially in the middle of the field (DT, MLB, Safeties), except for Beason we have been weak in these areas for the last 4 years and it has not been addressed. Hurney is the worst GM in the league. His draft choices have not worked out (with a few exceptions). We could easily be a playoff contender if he had picked up a few good FAs. We have been looking for a second receiver for 5 years. The coaches don't seem to be able to make in game adjustments, when things are not working. If the game plan works the Panthers look great, if not there is no adjustments made.

Posted by: Michael | Oct 11, 2012 8:34:19 PM

I 'm happy that the upper class is now getting to experience how we feel. Sitting up there In the silver seats all fat cats and getting tickets for free while we have to pay to watch the game at home. Khalil only cared about the fat cats and now that us little people are getting cheaper tickets because the team loses games he is sitting out. I think it's wrong that he's being lazy and not working for his money but why should I be surprised wen this cuntry is full of the upper class that pays no taxes and gets richer because they're rich. They get cheaper tickets to games and free in most cases just because they already have the money. The whole PSL thing was just anther way to keep us people down by giving out the tickets to only Jerry's best friends and making us all pay for upper deck tickets or pay to watch at home. Kalil and Jerry and Hurney have been planning this all since he was drafted. But Well see who's laughing when Cam signs with the Falcons in a few years.

Posted by: Len Jackson | Oct 11, 2012 8:58:10 PM

If I know my Panthers they will get going! Be in hunt for a playoff spot! Lose a heart breaking game late in the season and miss the playoffs by one game just to make losing these early games more painful!

Posted by: joe cool | Oct 12, 2012 1:00:38 AM

we need to upgrade the o-line.. D-line.. Secondary.. Get a true #1 reciever cause smitty aint got forever.. Dont understand y we dont address some of the needs in the draft and the others in free agency.. U gotta b a player in free agency man and im not just tlkin bout signing another rb!

Posted by: tombottomsides | Oct 12, 2012 1:04:00 AM


Posted by: pantherworld | Oct 12, 2012 3:25:56 AM

Jadeveon Clowney is a sophomore and is not draft eligible.

Posted by: fctileman | Oct 12, 2012 7:09:51 AM

It's kind of surprising to realize how thin the OL has become - kind of always took it for granted as being solid. Hard to say what the most glaring weak areas to be shored up are. I like the idea of drafting a new LT and moving (declining) Gross to the right side. But it's also way overdue to get a new #1 WR. And when will there ever be 2 solid CB's on the defense. I don't think Hurney has done a terrible job, but they just can't seem to put together a solid team across the board - there are always some glaring deficiencies. Their strategy is missing something to address that.

Posted by: WayneD | Oct 12, 2012 8:28:09 AM

Everybody needs to stop with the "fire Hurney" and "sell the team, Jerry" crap. Mr. Richardson set us up for rebuilding prior to the lockout. We are STILL rebuilding, but all of you guys want to win NOW. Not feasible. Yes, we're probably headed for another top 7 draft spot for a lot of reasons. Best analysis in this line of comments: moving Gross over to RT and drafting a big time LT talent. Hurney has TWO major busts on his record (Otah and Edwards) and I don't think that one was his fault (Otah). He also has one potentially in the making (Siliatolu), but it's too early to tell. NO ONE can explain to me why you take 4-5th round talent in the second round, especially when there were soooo many more top rated OL. The truth is, we have too many MAJOR holes to fill in this draft that he MUST go after 2-3 TOP rated free agents this year if he wants to put a winning team on the fill. Just my opinion, but here goes:
Draft: 1st round - Top tier DT or Safety, 2nd round - SEC/Big 12/Big 10 LT. If possible, trade back into first round for the Steve Smith replacement. Let's face it, the 1st and 2nd rd players are usually your impact players.
Free agents: I think Norman is going to eventually be a decent CB, but he should be the nickle now, not the starter. Bring in a veteran (McCourty, Rogers-Cromartie, etc) to be the other solid starter opposite Gamble. Once we have a competent defensive backfield, McDermott can let the front 7 pin their ears back and blitz more. Right now, he can't because he has to drop the LBs into coverage help. If you don't address the OL in the second round, there are a lot of top OL in the free agent class (Jake Long, Ryan Clady, Duane Brown,etc.), but get someone YOUNG to lock down for a few years.

Top needs: Both Safeties need replacement NOW, stud DT (DEs are fine), future #1 receiver to groom and OL help.

Posted by: ZB | Oct 12, 2012 1:29:42 PM

Well that move should right the ship. Whew...

Posted by: Man Up | Oct 12, 2012 3:36:48 PM

I've sat back and I've read the comments and I usually don't comment but as a "TRUE DIE HARD PANTHERS FAN" that was at the opening game in Death Valley back in '95, I must address a few things...

1st. Coaching is a problem especially when you have one of the best running back tandems in the NFL. Adding Cam Newton puts you in the mind of the "DVD" (Dunn, Vick, Duckett) Trio that Atlanta had a few years back. Williams and Stewart need more touches to pull the Defense in so that Cam can work off of play actions and get Smitty the ball deep.

2. Decision making by Newton. Our O-line has taken too many hits in this conversation. We have a solid O-line. Cam has been holding on to the ball too long and when the line can't block anymore, he forces throws. There are options out there. In the game against Seattle, he didn't even look Olsen's way until the 4th quarter. How can you do that when he leads the team in receptions.

3. Hurney is not the problem...When it comes time to sign FA's...it isn't as easy as you think to get big time players to come to a small market like Charlotte. That's why we have to rely on filling spots in the draft. Hurney has made some bad and questionable decisions but what GM hasn't? I agree with ZB 100%. Carolina is in a rebuilding stage that I knew was going to take about 2-3 years maybe even 4 before we are back to greatness. Its a hard pill to swallow when your team isn't winning but a true fan will ride or die.

4. The team as a whole. The Atlanta game proved that we can execute on both sides of the ball...you just can't make mistakes when the game is on the line. On paper the Carolina Panthers are just as talented as a lot of the top tier teams in the league. As a team, where one area is weak, the rest have to step up to help. Our secondary is shady at times, Our D-line can be weak at times, our Offense gets off to slow starts...all of this is true but a true team can and will find a way to bring all 53 men together and win. If we can make it to the Super Bowl on the arm of Jake Delhomme...I know Cam Newton can get us there...its going to take some time.

So to all the doubters the non-believers and the just down-right disrespectful haters...I say to you...Carolina is here, and we're here to stay. When we achieve the greatness that I know we will...just so you know...we don't have a band wagon. Stay away! Peace!

Posted by: Lorenzo G | Oct 12, 2012 5:41:44 PM

true that, i agree with everything that Lorenzo G said except that it will take a while to start winning a lot of games, i say playoffs at least next season. and yes their is a lot of fair- weather fans on this site.i think i started that discussion. GO PANTHERS!!!!

Posted by: james | Oct 12, 2012 10:12:42 PM

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