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Originally published: 2014-01-04 13:29:53
Last modified: 2014-01-04 13:31:43

Panthers sign D.J. Smith to future contract

by Steve Behr Sports Editor

Former Appalachian State linebacker D.J. Smith was one of eight players the Carolina Panthers signed to future contracts.

The contracts are called "future contracts" because although they have already been signed, they do not go into effect until March 11, which is considered the beginning of the NFL year.

Smith was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the sixth round of the 2011 draft. He had a solid rookie season playing special teams and as a backup linebacker, but suffered a season-ending knee injury in 2012.

The Packers released Smith, a Charlotte native, on April 24, 2013. The San Diego Chargers signed him one day later, but released Smith on Sept. 1, 2013.

Smith was a four-year starter at Appalachian State. He finished with 525 tackles, which made him the first Mountaineer to have at least 500 tackles in a career since Dexter Coakley in 1993-96.