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Panthers Add Former Lions Harris To Compete For Punting Spot

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TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 19:  Kicker Dave Rayner #3 of the Detroit Lions celebrates with holder Nick Harris #2 the winning field goal in overtime against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the game at Raymond James Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

TAMPA, FL – DECEMBER 19: Kicker Dave Rayner #3 of the Detroit Lions celebrates with holder Nick Harris #2 the winning field goal in overtime against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the game at Raymond James Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Panthers have signed punter Nick Harris to compete with rookie Brad Nortman.

Harris signed a one-year deal.

The 6-foot-2, 218-pound Harris is an 11-year NFL veteran and played in 11 games with Jacksonville last season. He averaged 42.7 yards per punt. Since beginning his NFL career with Cincinnati in 2001, Harris has placed 239 of his 876 career punts inside the 20-yard line. He spent seven seasons with Detroit and remains the Lions’ leader in punts (627) and punting yards (27,073).

Nortman, from Wisconsin, became the first punter drafted by the Panthers when they selected him in the sixth round in April. They wanted to sign Harris as an insurance policy.

The Panthers released long-time punter Jason Baker earlier in a salary cap move.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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