Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers made reference calls on ‘dirty’ DB Cortland Finnegan

Carolina Panthers cornerback Cortland Finnegan, signed Monday after having retired from the NFL, says he appreciates another opportunity to play.
Carolina Panthers cornerback Cortland Finnegan, signed Monday after having retired from the NFL, says he appreciates another opportunity to play. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera said he and general manager Dave Gettleman felt comfortable bringing in cornerback Cortland Finnegan, known for his dirty play, after speaking with colleagues around the league this past weekend.

“We found that some things were obviously overblown,” Rivera said. “You just consider the amount of people we talked to and had other people asking questions for us. For the most part we felt that there’s enough in our locker room to handle the situation and circumstances.

“Dave and I both talked with him about what we have here, what the opportunity is. And moreso than anything else he seemed very grateful for the opportunity.”

Finnegan’s history on the field has been well-documented, from alleged cheap shots to an on-field fist fight with receiver Andre Johnson. On Monday, Finnegan said the comparison to the Dennis Rodman of the NFL isn’t a bad one.

But so far in Charlotte, it’s been all business for Finnegan, who figures to work at the nickel corner position.

“It’s going well. I like it,” Finnegan said. “Another day or two and it’s going to be fine. I’ve enjoyed the ride thus far. It’s been great. The coaches staying after and doing extra stuff is always a benefit.”

Rivera said it’s too early to tell if Finnegan is in good enough shape to play as a starter but that Finnegan had a big workload on Tuesday.

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