Panthers Release Steve Smith; Former Panther Captain Munnerlyn S - WSPA.com

Panthers Release Steve Smith; Former Panther Captain Munnerlyn Signs with Vikings

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The Panthers are eliminated from the playoffs with a 23-10 loss to the 49ers. The Panthers are eliminated from the playoffs with a 23-10 loss to the 49ers.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - The Carolina Panthers announced they've released their all-time leading receiver Steve Smith.

Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman says in a release Thursday it "was not an easy decision."

He says Smith "has been one of the NFL's finest receivers for over a decade and has been the face of the franchise for a large part of the team's history. As a team, we made a step forward last year; however we are also a team in transition, which is a part of the NFL."

The decision comes one day after Smith's agent Derrick Fox told The Associated Press that the 13-year NFL veteran "is not going to play for the Panthers next year, I know that."

Smith, who turns 35 in May, ranks 19th all-time in the NFL in receptions.

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The Minnesota Vikings have signed cornerback Captain Munnerlyn to a three-year deal.

The team announced the signing on Thursday evening. Munnerlyn tells The Associated Press that he is very excited about a deal that will pay him up to $15 million. He says he pushed for a three-year deal over the four-year deal Minnesota initially offered.

Locking up Munnerlyn helped the Vikings address another big need on a defense that struggled last season. Munnerlyn spent the first five seasons of his career in Carolina.

Last season, the 25-year-old had a career-high 74 tackles and 3½ sacks. He also returned both of his interceptions for touchdowns and has five defensive touchdowns in his career.
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