CHARLOTTE – The Panthers have added to the depth of their defensive line with a familiar face, re-signing defensive tackle Kyle Love to a one-year contract.
"This has been the best organization that I've been a part of," Love said. "I love the coaching staff, the team and the city of Charlotte so it was a no-brainer to come back. This is the team that brought me in when nobody else wanted me, and that speaks volumes."
Love, who became an unrestricted free agent when the new league year began March 9, rejoins the team that signed him as a free agent late in the 2014 season. Love played in two regular season games and one postseason game in 2014, then he developed into a key rotational player this past season.
He played in 15 regular season games in 2015, starting the first two games when Star Lotulelei was sidelined by an injury. Love recorded 19 tackles and three sacks in addition to recovering one fumble in the regular season, and he played in all three postseason games and produced two tackles, including a sack.
View photos of defensive tackle Kyle Love from the 2015 season.
An undrafted rookie out of Mississippi State in 2010, Love played his first three NFL seasons with the New England Patriots and was a starter in 2011 and 2012. Waived by the Patriots following the 2012 season after being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, Love played sparingly for Kansas City and Jacksonville in 2013, and then he was out of football before the Panthers signed him Dec. 15, 2014.
"I sat at home for two years, back and forth with two different teams," Love said. "But I've found a home with a team that has faith in me and put trust in me. I just want to be able to play, and it gives me a lot of joy to be back with this organization.
"Plenty of teams called, but I couldn't see myself at another place. This is the team that saw something in me and gave me a chance, so how could I walk away from that?"
PANTHERS SIGN PUNTER PALARDY: The Panthers also added competition to their punting situation Monday by signing Michael Palardy to a one-year contract.
"This is a step in the right direction for me," said Palardy, who worked out for the Panthers along with two other punters Monday. "I put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into this, and this is a great opportunity with a great organization fresh off a Super Bowl appearance."
Palardy attended training camp with the Oakland Raiders in 2014 and spent the final regular season game on their practice squad, and he went to training camp with the St. Louis Rams last year. He also punted in one game for the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League this past fall as an injury replacement for Swayze Waters, who the Panthers signed February 11.
Brad Nortman recently signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars following four years in Carolina. In addition to Palardy and Waters, the Panthers still could sign a veteran or add a rookie via the draft or college free agency.
Palardy, a University of Tennessee product, was named first-team All-Southeastern Conference by ESPN.com in 2013 after leading the nation with 33 punts that landed inside the 20-yard line. That season, he was the lone left-footed kicker in the nation to handle to handle punt, placekicking and kickoff duties.
Senior writer Bryan Strickland and staff writer Max Henson contributed to this report.