Diggs signs with Panthers

Linebacker spent first six seasons with Packers

The Carolina Panthers have signed free agent outside linebacker Na'il Diggs, according to the Charlotte Observer. The veteran out of Ohio State spent his first six NFL seasons with the Green Bay Packers before he was released in early March for salary cap purposes.

Diggs was drafted in the fourth round of the 2000 draft by the Packers. The 6-foot-4, 240-pounder played in 84 games, including 80 as a starter, and recorded 541 tackles (390 solo). He struggled with two knee injuries last season, and played in nine games, mainly at strongside linebacker.

Diggs was due nearly $3 million in salary and bonuses this season. He fell out of favor with the coaches in Jim Bates' new defensive scheme last season, and his playing time dwindled even when he returned from his knee injuries. Diggs apparently is not the type of linebacker the Packers want in their defensive scheme, led by former Bates' assistant Bob Sanders, so the Packers released him.

The Packers are in need of an outside linebacker. Many draft experts feel that Green Bay will select Ohio State linebacker A.J. Hawk with the fifth overall pick of the NFL Draft. Nick Barnett and Robert Thomas are the other two starters at linebacker for Green Bay. The Packers also have met with free agent linebacker LaVar Arrington.

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