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Panthers release Mike Tolbert


CHARLOTTE – The Panthers have parted ways with veteran fullback Mike Tolbert.

Tolbert, who had one year remaining on his contract, spent the last five seasons in Carolina, functioning primarily as a short-yardage back and receiving option out of the backfield in addition to his responsibilities as a blocker. He was named to the Pro Bowl three times during his Panthers tenure.

"I feel very fortunate to have coached Mike for nearly his entire career," head coach Ron Rivera said. "He was someone we targeted in 2012 because we felt he would be a good addition to our offense and he was very productive for us. He brought great energy and leadership to our locker room and I wish him the best."

Tolbert's first two years with the Panthers were his most productive, as he recorded seven total touchdowns in both 2012 and 2013.

A knee injury limited him to eight games played in 2014, but Tolbert rebounded with four touchdowns (three receiving and one rushing) during Carolina's NFC championship season in 2015. He averaged 11.6 total yards per game in 2016 – a career low.

Tolbert's totals in a Panthers uniform include 992 rushing yards and 13 rushing touchdowns to go along with 771 receiving yards and six touchdown receptions. He spent the first four years of his career with the San Diego Chargers before signing with Carolina as a free agent.

The Panthers now have two fullbacks on the roster: Darrel Young and Devon Johnson. Young, who spent six seasons with Washington, was signed shortly after the 2016 season concluded. Johnson was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent last year but was placed on injured reserve with a back injury before the season began.

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