CHARLOTTE – The Panthers further strengthened their special teams and linebacker depth by signing eight-year veteran Jason Trusnik to a one-year contract.
Trusnik spent the previous four seasons with the Miami Dolphins. In 2014, he played in all 16 games with five starts and recorded 39 tackles, one interception. two passes defensed, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. Trusnik also added six tackles on special teams.
"Jason is an experienced player who adds more competition to the linebacker position and has also been a special teams ace," head coach Ron Rivera said. "I expect him to come in and be a leader. Even though he is new to us, he's got veteran savvy to him."
The Dolphins voted Trusnik a team captain in 2014, and as Rivera mentioned, the Panthers are excited about his leadership ability.
"It was one of the best things that happened in my career, being voted a captain," Trusnik said. "I hold myself, and my group, to a high standard."
"First, I want to earn respect from my new teammates and coaches. It's a new team and I have to earn that. I want to continue to be the leader that I've been in the past and make plays, whether that be on special teams or on defense."
Trusnik's NFL career began in 2007 when he signed with the New York Jets as an undrafted rookie free agent from Ohio Northern. After three years with the Jets, he went to Cleveland and started 15 games in two seasons for the Browns before joining the Dolphins.
He's played in 109 games with 25 starts and totaled 146 tackles, 3.5 sacks, four passes defensed, one forced fumble and three fumble recoveries in addition to 76 career tackles on special teams.
"I take pride in playing special teams," Trusnik said. "I have fun with it. I think I bring a lot to it. Special teams is a part of who I have become as a football player. I'm looking forward to taking the special teams here to another level."
"It's a great duo and to you can tell this a good group that works together. To be a part of that is everyone's dream," Trusnik said. "Striving for that starting position has driven me every year of my career. But I also strive to be the best special teams player."