The Carolina Panthers announced on Tuesday that the team signed linebacker and special teamer Jason Trusnik to a one-year deal. The 30 year old started his career with the New York Jets after playing college football at Ohio Northern, a Division III school.
He made his way back to the state of Ohio halfway through the 2009 season when he was one of the players that was sent to Cleveland in the Braylon Edwards trade.
He joined the Miami Dolphins prior to the 2011 season and has spent the past four seasons with the team. He has spent a majority of his professional career on special teams and according to Pro Football Focus, the past four seasons Trusnik has 35 special teams’ tackles.
The 6’4” linebacker had a chance last year due to injuries to show he was more than capable than being just a special teams player. After only four starts in his first three years in Miami, he had six a season ago. He finished the season with 48 total tackles, two passes defended and one interception.
The Panthers are set at two of the starting linebacker positions with Luke Kuechly manning the middle and Thomas Davis on the strongside linebacker position. However, the weakside starting position is certainly up for grabs and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Trusnik ending up with the starting gig.
Last year rookie Adarius Glanton finished the year as the starter after A.J. Klein went down with an injury. Unless the team adds a player in the draft, this should be a three-way race heading into training camp for the starting weakside linebacker position.
Panthers’ writer Max Henson quoted head coach Ron Rivera saying, “"Jason is an experienced player who adds more competition to the linebacker position and has also been a special teams ace. I expect him to come in and be a leader. Even though he is new to us, he's got veteran savvy to him."
The leadership quality is something that Trusnik prides himself on and wants to bring that to the Panthers in 2015. The newest Carolina Panther said, "First, I want to earn respect from my new teammates and coaches. It's a new team and I have to earn that. I want to continue to be the leader that I've been in the past and make plays, whether that be on special teams or on defense.