Graham Gano has been one of the more reliable kickers in the NFL over the course of his twelve-year career, a career that could’ve been cut short due to a misdiagnosed injury by Panthers’ team doctors in 2018, Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News reported in October.
Gano spent eight years in Carolina with his final year being spent on injured reserve. In seven seasons of play, Gano converted 165 of 193 attempted field goals (85.5%) en route to becoming second on the list of the franchise’s all-time leading scorers with 742 points. The former-Panther’s last active season with the team was cut short when team doctors diagnosed him with a left leg injury. According to Gano, the medical staffers misdiagnosed the injury as tendinitis and a bone bruise when he had actually sustained a fractured left femur. Gano’s second opinion from New York’s Hospital for Special Surgery led to a 2019 knee surgery that sidelined him for the entire 2019 season, but potentially prevented a more dangerous injury from ending his career had he returned without fixing the actual damage to his leg.
Upon returning to health in the 2020 offseason, Gano was cut by the new staff led by current Panthers’ head coach Matt Rhule before he even got a chance to kick for them. Carolina’s loss was New York’s gain, as the Giants quickly picked up the veteran kicker and have seen him return to form converting 91.8% of his attempted field goals. Gano’s success in New York quickly earned him a new contract that extended him through 2023 with the second highest average salary in the league for kickers.
Dr. Pat Connor and trainer Ryan Vermillion, the head team physician and head athletic trainer respectively for Carolina in that 2018 NFL season, are no longer with the organization. Vermillion ended up in Washington, following head coach Ron Rivera from Carolina, where he is now under investigation for alleged distribution of prescription drugs by the Drug Enforcement Administration.