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Panthers' Captain Munnerlyn says he left 'millions on the table' to return

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Captain Munnerlyn wanted to return to the Carolina Panthers during the offseason so badly that the nickelback turned down “millions" more that he was being offered to stay with the Minnesota Vikings.

The subject came up on Wednesday as Munnerlyn and the Panthers (8-4) prepare for Sunday’s game against the Vikings (10-2) at Bank of America Stadium.

Munnerlyn wouldn’t go into detail on what the Vikings offered him to stay, but he signed a four-year deal worth $21 million -- $10.5 million guaranteed, including a $6 million signing bonus -- in March to come back to Carolina.

“I think there was a certain number they didn’t want to go past," Munnerlyn said of the Vikings. “I let my agent handle it. But to come back here was a no-brainer for me. I still had my house here. This is the organization that drafted me, that gave me the opportunity to play the game I love."

But yes, Munnerlyn added, “I left millions on the table. But it’s OK. I don’t want to talk about it."

The Panthers selected Munnerlyn in the seventh round of the 2009 draft out of South Carolina. They wanted him to stay after the 2013 season, but then-general manager Dave Gettleman had salary-cap issues and couldn’t compete with the money Munnerlyn was offered in the free-agent market.

Munnerlyn admitted he chased the money when he signed a three-year, $11.5 million deal with the Vikings.

When Gettleman had money to compete this past offseason, Munnerlyn didn’t hesitate to return.

“How can I say this? When you leave millions of dollars on the table, it’s definitely a tough decision," Munnerlyn said. “But at the same time, Charlotte was my home. This is a place I wanted to be. I’m building a house here. I’ve had my house here.

“This organization has been great to me. They gave me the opportunity to play the game I love."