Captain Munnerlyn is not the first former Panther to make his way to Buffalo, following the path beaten by coach Sean McDermott, General Manager Brandon Beane and numbers of players.
Munnerlyn is, however, the most vocal.
The veteran cornerback told Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News he was fired up about the Bills’ joint practices with the Panthers this week, as a chance to show his old team he can still play. The Panthers released Munnerlyn this offseason as they went younger.
“I’m definitely going to have a little edge on me,” Munnerlyn said. “But at the same time, I’m going to be smart about it. But I’m going to make some plays. You can guarantee when I make the plays, they’re going to know about it.”
The 31-year-old Munnerlyn did two stints with the Panthers, beginning as a seventh-round draft pick in 2009. He left in free agency for the Vikings, but came back as part of former G.M. Dave Gettleman’s anti-youth movement in 2017. The Panthers also parted ways with veterans such as Thomas Davis this offseason, and Munnerlyn carries a bit of a grudge.
“It was disappointing because I always played my contracts out,” he said. “A seventh-round pick, to make it 10 years in the league is already a blessing, but the first time I got released was then and it was disappointing because I felt like I could have still helped those guys out a lot. I feel like I’m still young, I’ve got a lot of football left in me.
“A lot of you [reporters] are probably [saying], ‘Oh, he’s old, he’s 31. How much does he have left in the tank?’ I got a lot left in the tank, man. I prepared myself well this offseason to get in shape and prepared myself mentally to get ready to play football for a long time.”
The Bills needed help in the slot after losing E.J. Gaines to a season-ending core-muscle injury. Munnerlyn has played well there in the past, and he’s certainly motivated — again — to prove he belongs.