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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Rucker, Morgan still technically not decided

Rumor, apparently picked up by Steve Reed of the Gaston Gazette, had Dan Morgan restructuring and staying, but no decision has been made. The team still needs to take action on a series of bonuses totaling $2.5 million.

The team has stated they want to keep DE Mike Rucker, says the Charlotte Observer:
"We're hoping Mike Rucker can come back full-strength next season," Hurney said, "and he's definitely in our plans. Mike Rucker typifies what we want in both a player and a person."

For that to happen, Rucker will most certainly have to structure his roster bonus into an extension, a risky move for the former Pro Bowl end at age 32 and still rehabilitating a surgically repaired knee. Rucker had been largely unscathed and productive throughout his career since he first earned a starting spot in 2001, so there's reason to be hopeful.

With Rucker staying, Al Wallace was released, in a move many didn't expect; Wallace is a key reserve who re-signed with the team in 2004 when media experts reported he could cash in as a starter elsewhere. However, Wallace rarely played ahead of Rucker, and as a spot starter in 2005 and late 2006, Wallace had issues playing the run and holding contain. While Wallace's salary wasn't terribly prohibitive, it did save the Panthers in excess of $1 million, and likely signifies that the team will be on the look out for a more well-rounded backup to Rucker and Peppers.
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