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Back with Panthers, Captain Munnerlyn said trash talk was “out of fun”

Los Angeles Rams v Minnesota Vikings

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 1: Captain Munnerlyn #24 of the Minnesota Vikings looks on during the third quarter of the game against the Los Angeles Rams on September 1, 2016 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Rams 27-25. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

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The Panthers brought Captain Munnerlyn back home because he’s good at playing slot corner, and they needed someone who was.

But the thing he might be better at is talking, and when you deal in words in volume the way he does, some of them might eventually come back to bite you.

When Munnerlyn was with the Vikings, he made several critical comments toward his old team, which is now his new team again.

“I’ve been in that locker room before, so I knew,” he said after the Vikings came back to beat the Panthers last year. “Those guys really don’t play well when they are down.”

Last weekend upon his return, he knew he’d have to explain.

“You guys know me — I’m very competitive. It was always out of fun,” Munnerlyn said, via Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review. “When it got out there like that, I was like, ‘Man, no!’ I was trying to call coach [Steve] Wilks. I was like, ‘Coach, I didn’t mean it like that!’ He was like, ‘Nah, we got the message.’ But like I said, it was all out of fun to me. . . .

“I was on a different team and I was just speaking what I felt at that time. I wouldn’t say it was true, but at the same time, that’s how I felt.”

He also had some specific criticism of wide receiver Devin Funchess, who didn’t have a catch in that Week Three game in which the Panthers blew a lead.

“I think we just knew where [Kelvin] Benjamin was the whole time. Funchess, we weren’t worried about him,” Munnerlyn said then. “I never talk like this, but I don’t think he is that good, No. 17.”

But since he does talk like that, and now has to share a locker room with No. 17, he knows he’ll have to make amends.

“I probably will,” he said. “But we’re definitely going to compete against each other. I’m sure he’s going to want to prove me wrong, and at the same time, I don’t mind that. If I can bring the best out of you, I’m down for that. I’m sure we’ll have a lot of battles.”

That kind of fighting spirit is part of what the Panthers were looking for this offseason, as much as guys who fill specific roles on the field.