Panthers part ways with returner Ray-Ray McCloud

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  • By Grant Gordon NFL.com
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When the Panthers return from their bye week against the 49ers on Oct. 27, they'll have a new returner catching kicks.

Carolina waived returner Ray-Ray McCloud on Tuesday morning, the team announced.

Ultimately, McCloud's trials and tribulations against Tampa Bay did him in, as he had three muffed punts in two games against the Buccaneers. His third and final fumble came in the Panthers' win over the Buccaneers on Sunday in London.

He's an explosive, dynamic player but we have to protect the football better," Panthers coach Ron Rivera said of McCloud Tuesday.

In six games, McCloud had 10 punt returns for 82 yards and eight kick returns for 174 yards, but his dropped punts -- all of them in the aforementioned two games -- loomed larger than any production.

McCloud will now be looking for a third team in two seasons as he was released by the Bills after his rookie season.

Consequently, Bucs return man Bobo Wilson also has three fumbles, all of them against the Panthers -- two coming on Sunday. After the Panthers' win, though, Bucs coach Bruce Arians stated nobody else had stepped up to supplant Wilson.

Now that Ray-Ray's available, perhaps he could replace Bobo as the Bucs waived the receiver Tuesday afternoon.

Nonetheless, the Panthers are looking for somebody new to field kicks. Chris Hogan has one kick return for 21 yards this season. After that, it's been all Ray-Ray until Tuesday.

"We'll take a look and see what's available out there," Rivera said. "With the bye week, we have time and we're going to look."

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