CHARLOTTE – The Panthers have signed unrestricted free agent cornerback Drayton Florence.
Florence, who has 18 career interceptions in 10 NFL seasons, spent 2012 with the Detroit Lions. He recorded 17 tackles, one interception and seven passes defensed in eight games with three starts.
"He is a very instinctive and smart player. There isn't much he hasn't seen," general manager Dave Gettleman said. "He still has his speed, he's still explosive. He's a heavy-hitter when he tackles and he has the skills we were looking for. He's a mature guy and he's going to help our young defensive backs learn."
Florence broke his arm in Week 2 and was placed on injured reserve before returning to the Lions lineup in Week 11.
"And he wrapped his arm up and finished that game," Gettleman said. "That really speaks to his toughness."
Prior to his one-year stint in Detroit, Florence spent three years with the Buffalo Bills and recorded seven interceptions in 45 starts with the franchise.
Florence played for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2008 after spending his first five seasons with the Chargers, who drafted him from Tuskegee in the second round of the 2003 NFL Draft.
Florence recorded 10 interceptions and 38 passes defensed in his five years with the Chargers.
"(Head coach) Ron (Rivera) coached Drayton out in San Diego and that familiarity is another positive factor," Gettleman said. "We are excited to have him."