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Monday, September 5, 2011
Panthers firm up offensive line

By Pat Yasinskas

The Carolina Panthers now have two legitimate options for the starting job at right guard.

The team has signed Geoff Hangartner, who spent the past three seasons in Buffalo. Prior to that, Hangartner was with Carolina from 2005 through 2008. He primarily was a backup at center and guard, but got some starts due to injury.

He departed for a big free-agent contract with Buffalo in 2009, but the Bills recently released him. The Panthers likely will choose between Hangartner and Max Jean-Gilles, who also has been signed.

Those are two decent veteran options after the position was decimated by injury. Expected starter Geoff Schwartz suffered a season-ending injury early in the preseason. Garry Williams was supposed to replace him, but he also suffered a season-ending injury.

Although Carolina’s coaching staff has changed since Hangartner last played for the Panthers, he could have the advantage. He was a popular locker-room figure and has familiarity with most of the other members of the offensive line.