Carolina Panthers nickel back Captain Munnerlyn walked out of practice Wednesday because he was upset about his role in the defensive game plan for this week’s game against the Green Bay Packers, according to a source.
Munnerlyn told reporters his exit was not related to injury or illness, which the Panthers later confirmed on the official injury report.
Munnerlyn, asked why he had left practice, told reporters to ask Panthers coach Ron Rivera.
Rivera said Munnerlyn’s situation was “personal,” and declined to comment further.
This is the second known instance of a Panthers player walking out of a practice this season. Former wideout Kelvin Benjamin exited an October practice early, two weeks before being traded to Buffalo for a pair of draft picks.
Playing time has been an issue for Munnerlyn all season during his second stint in Carolina, which has used linebacker Shaq Thompson in a big nickel role more than its traditional nickel package.
He’s played in a career-low 46 percent of the defensive snaps this season. That’s a significant drop-off from the 95.8 percent of snaps he logged as a starter for the Panthers in 2013 before leaving for Minnesota in free agency.
Munnerlyn played a season-high 58 defensive snaps (out of a total of 74) last week against his old Vikings team when Thompson was out with a foot injury.
Thompson missed practice again Wednesday, but the Panthers have been using backup safety Colin Jones at big nickel in place of Thompson.