Not much can be said about Mike Minter that hasn't already - thanks, Mike, for a decade of top notch play and incredible leadership. Minter went through some of the great times - 03, 05 playoffs - and was around for the worst - 1998, 2001 - but played hard throughout it all. Praise will flow for years for a grizzled veteran, and the first significant player on the team to be drafted, play through his career, and retire for Carolina.
The next thing, of course, that comes along with this type retirement - besides the sentiment, and the tears as noted by his retirement announcement (where even John Fox was teary) - is talk about statues. Don't necessarily expect a Minter statue anytime soon, and this year's retirement wouldn't face cause for such a thing this year anyway. But after seeing the retirement announcement, there's a push for such a thing to happen.
Minter's loss only further outlines the difference between last year's veteran nature and this year's youth. While the team didn't seem to upgrade, the team is in fact at least younger at safety. Deke Cooper, who spent time on our practice squad and spent two years starting part time for other teams, is the aging veteran in his 5th year. As well, the team took a major step toward youth at WR this year, and the team constantly adds to their list of drafted LBs and OL (though the constant lineman drafting, while solid in theory, didn't keep them from spending a troubling amount on linemen in 05 and 06).