Jonathan Stewart signs contract extension

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CHARLOTTE – The Panthers have signed running back Christian McCaffrey to a one-year extension, meaning Carolina's lead back is now under contract through 2018.

"It means a lot. This is a special place," Stewart said. "The fans and the organization, they've always been good to me. We're all here to win the ultimate prize. I'm just glad to be here."

Stewart, who is entering his 10th NFL season, rushed for 824 yards and nine touchdowns in 13 games last season. During Carolina's NFC Championship season in 2015, Stewart was named to his first Pro Bowl after rushing for 989 yards and six touchdowns in 13 games.

In the past two seasons, Stewart's 15 rushing touchdowns are tied for eighth in the NFL and his 1,813 rushing yards rank 12th.

"We're excited about it," general manager Dave Gettleman said of extending Stewart. "A couple of weeks ago I sat back and watched every one of his carries and touches. He's still playing at a very high level. You look at his numbers over the last three years, and he's been over 800 (yards) all three years.

"I feel really good about where he is physically, and I feel really good about doing this extension."

The former first-round draft pick spent the first seven years of his career splitting time with DeAngelo Williams in the Carolina backfield. Despite not starting a game in 2008, Stewart set team rookie records for rushing attempts (184), rushing yards (836), average rushing gain (4.5) and rushing touchdowns (10). His second NFL season was his most productive, racking up a career-high 1,133 rushing yards and 10 rushing scores.

After signing a five-year extension ahead of the 2012 season, an ankle injury forced Stewart to miss seven games. Offseason ankle surgery caused him to spend the first seven weeks of the 2013 season on the physically unable to perform list.

But Stewart returned to full strength and emerged as the Panthers' workhorse running back in 2014.

Stewart ranks first in team history with 1,501 rushing attempts and stands second with 6,638 rushing yards, a 4.42-yard rushing average and 14 games with 100 or more rushing yards. His 45 rushing touchdowns and 51 total touchdowns (45 rushing, six receiving) rank third in franchise history.

View photos of Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart during his football career.

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