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Old friends Moore, Munnerlyn become teammates


CHARLOTTE – Captain Munnerlyn and D.J. Moore have been friends since their days as counterparts in the Southeastern Conference.

"He was in South Carolina and I was in Vanderbilt. My sophomore year he was the No. 1 cornerback in the SEC and I overtook him my junior year," Moore said with a laugh.

There's always been a friendly competition between the two cornerbacks who share similar skill sets. They both entered the league in 2009 and have followed each other's NFL careers.

"He's one of my best friends off the field," Munnerlyn said.

Munnerlyn and Moore became unrestricted free agents this offseason. Munnerlyn had spent all four of his NFL seasons in Carolina, and Moore had done the same in Chicago.

Neither player knew where they'd play in 2013 and they leaned on each other throughout the free agency process.

"I talked to D.J. every day since free agency started, trying to see where he was going and he was seeing where I was going," Munnerlyn said.

"If you go here, I am going to go there (elsewhere)."

That was the initial plan at least.

Then Moore – a native of Spartanburg, S.C. – called Munnerlyn with the news that he was signing with the Panthers.

"Once I told Captain I was going to sign with Carolina, I was telling him to come back," Moore said. "I know he's a good player, I'm a good player. Every team needs good corners. I just tried to convince him to come back."

It didn't take much convincing.

Munnerlyn re-signed with the Panthers shortly after.

"We never thought about teaming up, even though we were talking as soon as free agency started," Munnerlyn said. "It just happened."

"I'm happy. I got a chance to stay with this great organization," Munnerlyn added. "I didn't want to go somewhere and have to start over."

That's the challenge Moore faces as he begins a new chapter of his career in Carolina.

"When I walked in the locker room for the first time it was weird, because I was just so used to how things were the last four years," Moore said. "This is a new start for me."

Fortunately for Moore, he has a friend in Munnerlyn to help ease the transition.

And in the coming weeks, they'll get a chance to re-new their competition as the battle for positioning in the Panthers' secondary begins.

"I'm excited. I don't know what my role is yet. I've been playing nickel all my life, and my stats are way better than (Captain's)," Moore joked.

"I'm looking forward to the competition," Munnerlyn said, "especially with D.J."

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