Panthers release Gaines after reaching injury settlement

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Carolina Panthers released former starting tight end Michael Gaines on Tuesday after reaching an injury settlement.

Gaines, a four-year pro, was placed on injured reserve on Saturday but wanted an opportunity to play elsewhere this season and elected to take the injury settlement.

A seventh-round draft pick in 2004, Gaines started 21 games and played in 42 for the Panthers over the last three seasons. He was used primarily as a blocking tight end. He caught 31 passes for 335 yards with two touchdowns.

With Gaines gone, the Panthers have three tight ends on their roster that have combined for one career catch. Jeff King, the starter, has that lone catch -- a touchdown from Chris Weinke in 2006 -- but Dante Rosario and Marcus Freeman are rookies.

"We are young, but we had a pretty good preseason and played pretty well as a group," King said. "We hope to carry that over to the regular season."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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