Panthers sign free agent S Kurt Coleman to 2-year deal
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Kurt Coleman made it clear he's coming to the Carolina Panthers looking for a chance to be an NFL starter again.
The five-year veteran safety signed a two-year contract with the Panthers on Monday, the team announced. Financial terms of the deal were not released.
Coleman started 27 games for Philadelphia in 2011 and 2012, but has only three starts in the last two seasons with the Eagles and Chiefs.
Coleman said capturing a starting role is ''absolutely, without a doubt'' his goal when the Panthers open offseason workouts in about a month.
To win a starting spot he'll have to beat out either veteran Roman Harper or last year's rookie standout Tre Boston.
''I know I can start in this league, no question,'' Coleman said. ''With the limited time I have gotten in these last two years. ... I make plays when I get in there. But I know this is a business and it's all about finding that right opportunity. I don't want this position handed to me, I want to earn it.''
Coleman, 26, feels like Carolina is the right fit.
He played for Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott as a rookie in Philadelphia in 2010.
''I know he is going to bring out the best in me,'' Coleman said of being reunited with McDermott.
Coleman said he's comfortable playing either free or strong safety.
''Kurt gives us a versatile safety who can play both spots,'' Panthers coach Ron Rivera said in a release. ''He's athletic, he's intelligent, and will understand the system, having worked with Sean (McDermott) before. He's a very consistent player and also adds special teams ability. That is something we've talked about improving upon and we've made some moves this offseason looking for guys that can help us on special teams.''
The 5-foot-11, 200-pound Ohio State product has played in 74 career games with 258 tackles and five interceptions and three forced fumbles in his five seasons, the first four of which were spent with the Eagles.
Coleman's best statistical season came in 2011 with the Eagles when he had 78 tackles and a career-high five interceptions. He started three games last year for the Chiefs and had 37 tackles and three interceptions.
He's also been a regular on special teams.
The Panthers entered the offseason looking to upgrade their secondary and have now signed Coleman and cornerback Teddy Williams.
Coleman said other teams expressed interest in signing him in free agency, but the ''the interest level that Carolina showed in me was phenomenal.''
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