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Mario Addison Picks Panthers Over Open Market

The last time Panthers defensive end Mario Addison signed a contract to stay in Carolina, he celebrated with a trip to Puerto Rico. But Jet Skis, an inability to swim and a fear of sharks equaled a big buzzkill.

So after signing a new three-year deal that could reportedly max out at $25.05 million, Addison's planning a drier celebration.

"I'm going to Germany for a week," he said Sunday.

"No Jet Skis, though. No water. I'm not dealing with any water anymore until I learn how to swim the right way."

That the Panthers locked up the defender who's led the team with 22.0 sacks since the start of 2014 isn't a surprise. That it happened before he even got a chance to hit to open market on March 9 is. Sort of.

"I thought it was going to be a headache," Addison said of the negotiations. "But everything went back and forth real well. Everything went great.

"We made a good agreement that’s a really good, fair deal for me."

And for Dave Gettleman.

"Mario has shown he is one of the best emerging pass rushers in the league and he deserves this contract,” the Panthers general manager said. "He consistently affects the quarterback, and we envision an increased role for him in our defense."

That last line is worth noting, as is the fact Addison started in the season finale against the Bucs — his first start since Week 13 of 2013. Since then, most have assumed the Panthers have used Addison — who's slight for a defensive end at 6-foot-3, 260 pounds — in a situational role. But coach Ron Rivera called that "a misnomer."

"I think Mario's a complete defensive end," Rivera said a day after his team wrapped up the season.

On Sunday, the Panthers backed up that belief by giving Addison a contract he could only dream of when shuffled off and on the rosters of four different teams from 2011-12.

"I will be the first to admit that I got a little discouraged in the beginning of my career. I never gave up, because I know the things I could do," said Addison, who will turn 30 in September.

"The craziest thing about it was, I was playing on teams that had young guys like me that were just drafted. And I kept thinking to myself, 'You are better than those guys. Only thing you need is the opportunity.' I was just waiting on that opportunity."

Photo: Ben Coon

Other Quotes to Note


On the slow development of fellow defensive end Kony Ealy

"A guy like Kony Ealy has got unbelievable talents, man. I work with the guy everyday. Once Kony get it in his head that he's unstoppable, then he's going to be unstoppable. The guy's a freak."

On those who say he's just a situational edge rusher

“I had my success coming in rushing on third down, and in some cases, I was rushing on first and second, too. It kind of speaks for itself. They know I can be an every-down end. But whatever the team chooses to do with me, I’m down."

On the Panthers showing their faith in him with a new contract

"For a guy like me, the sky's the limit. I know a couple tricks of the trade, I've played against the best, so I know what it takes to be able to get to the quarterback. And I'm going to apply everything I've got — even the kitchen sink — to get there."

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