How’s this for ironic: The Carolina Panthers are giving former Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Roberto Aguayo a chance to kick start his career, and his debut with his new team could come against the club that cut him during training camp with the “Hard Knocks” cameras rolling.
Aguayo was signed to the Panthers’ practice squad on Wednesday as veteran Graham Gano battles soreness in his right knee. Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Wednesday that signing Aguayo was an “insurance policy” in case Gano’s soreness persists.
If Gano is unable to go Sunday when the NFC South rivals meet at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Aguayo could be kicking against the team that traded up in the second round in the 2016 draft to select the kicker out of Florida State University.
Aguayo’s struggles with the Bucs were well documented – he missed nine field goal attempts and two extra points during his rookie season. His woes continued in the preseason, and he was beaten out by veteran Nick Folk during training camp. Folk then missed four of his first seven field goals this season – including three in a 19-14 loss to the New England Patriots – and was replaced by Patrick Murray.
Aguayo signed with the Chicago Bears after being cut by the Bucs but was released before the season started. Now he’s back in the NFC South, at least in the short term.
Perhaps the biggest highlight of Aguayo’s disappointing stay with the Bucs came in a 17-14 road win over the Panthers last season when he kicked a 38-yard field goal as time expired.
Who: Carolina Panthers (4-3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-4)
When: Sunday, 1 p.m.
Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa