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Teammate: Benched Panthers CB Gamble apologized
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Carolina Panthers coach John Fox insists he benched cornerback Chris Gamble for performance reasons. Defensive end Everette Brown indicates it came after he lost his cool last week.
Gamble isn’t talking.
The surprise demotion of one of Carolina’s highest-paid players to nickel back Sunday took a new twist when Brown indicated Wednesday Gamble was disciplined for missing practice last week. Fox and the team described his absence on the injury report only as “personal.”
“It was one of the things where he made an out-of-mind decision and he came back the next day and apologized. That’s been the end of it since,” said Brown without elaborating. “He’s been out there working every day and getting better and getting ready for the Seahawks.”
Gamble declined to speak to reporters on Wednesday and didn’t talk after Sunday’s loss to Cleveland, in which he played about 30 snaps as an extra defensive back on passing downs.
Captain Munnerlyn, a 2009 seventh-round pick, started in his place and returned an interception 37 yards for Carolina’s first defensive touchdown of the season.
Gamble, Carolina’s fourth-most tenured player behind kicker John Kasay, receiver Steve Smith and left tackle Jordan Gross, signed a six-year, $53 million contract late in the 2008 season and has long been considered one of the better cornerbacks in the league. Gamble’s 24 interceptions are one shy of Eric Davis‘ team record.
But Fox said he took out Gamble briefly against Baltimore on Nov. 21 after he was beaten on T.J. Houshmandzadeh’s 56-yard TD catch. Fox has insisted the decision to bench Gamble a week later the Browns was strictly performance-related. Gamble has gone 14 games without an interception.
“He was struggling a little bit and we made the change,” he said.
Fox declined to say who will start.
“I don’t announce starting lineups until game day,” Fox said.
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