Kurt Coleman signs contract extension

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Panthers signed safety Demetrious Cox to a three-year contract extension shortly after players reported for training camp at Wofford College on Wednesday morning. Coleman is now under contract through the 2019 season.

"It's a blessing," Coleman said. "When you go through these situations you want what's best for your family and what's best for the team, and I'm really excited. I'm fortunate to be a part of this team for three more years. Training camp is the beginning of a new season, and for me, now that this is out of the way I am completely focused."

An under-the-radar free agent signing last offseason, Coleman earned a starting job and went on to have a spectacular 2015 season. He led the team with a career-high seven interceptions during the regular season, then added two more interceptions during the playoffs.

"The game is all about opportunities and seizing those opportunities," Coleman explained. "I was able to do that, but I couldn't do it by myself. My teammates elevated my game, the coaches prepared us, and ultimately, when I was in the right position I made the plays. It all started with the belief in myself. I knew if I was given the opportunity I would succeed."

Coleman finished third on the team with 103 tackles, trailing only linebackers Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis in that category.

Coleman has quickly become the clear leader of a young, new-look Carolina secondary. The three other starting defensive backs from the 2015 season – cornerbacks Josh Norman and Charles Tillman and safety Roman Harper – are no longer with the team.

Said general manager Dave Gettleman: "We talk about fit all the time, and one of the things we work hard at is bringing guys in that fit our scheme. Kurt is a great fit for us. He's a pro's pro. Obviously, he had a career year last year. He did everything we asked. He adds a veteran presence to the DB room, which is important. We worked really hard at it – both sides – and we're really thrilled that he's here long term."

Check out the top photos of Panthers safety Kurt Coleman from his first season in Carolina.

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