After being cut by the only NFL team he’d played for during the first 13 seasons of his career following April’s NFL draft, punter Mike Scifres has found a new home.
The San Diego Chargers released Scifres after the team drafted Drew Kaser out of Texas A&M in the sixth round of the draft. Now, Scifres will look to continue his playing career with the defending NFC champions.
Originally a fifth-round draft choice out of Western Illinois in 2003, Scifres has a 45.2-yard career punting average to go along with a 40.1-yard net average. He played in 189 games for the Chargers.
In Carolina, the Panthers will also have a big change at the punter position after Brian Nortman, the team’s punter since the 2012 season, signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars as a free agent.
Scifres said he talked with Mike Tolbert, a former teammate in San Diego, about Carolina. "Excited about everything he said. I can't wait."
— Max Henson (@PanthersMax) June 7, 2016
Scifres will compete with Swayze Waters, a punter who played at UAB in college. Most of his professional success has come in the Canadian Football League. By virtue of NFL playing experience, Scifres should have a big leg up—pun intended—on the competition.
To make room for Scifres on the 90-man roster, the Panthers waived another punter, Michael Palardy.
Though Scifres was a reliable punter for over a decade in San Diego, his net average dipped to 38.2 yards per kick in 2015. According to Football Database, only five eligible punters had a lower number.
The Chargers are happy to have a big, young leg in Kaser, but it’s also nice to see Scifres be rewarded for a strong career with a chance to keep it going.