Panthers release veteran RB Jonathan Stewart

The Carolina Panthers have ended their decade-long relationship with Jonathan Stewart.

The team announced Wednesday they released the soon-to-be 31-year-old running back.

The Panthers made Stewart the No. 13 overall pick in 2008. In 2017, the veteran running back became the franchise's all-time rushing leader. Stewart owns 7,318 career rushing yards on 1,699 carries.

"Jonathan played the game the way you want," coach Ron Rivera told Bill Voth of the team's official website. "He brought an element of toughness as a runner that set the tempo for our team. He is a great pro and I appreciate who he is as a young man and thank him for the contribution he made."

Cutting Stewart saves the Panthers $3.7 million on the salary cap and continues a trend of shedding veterans. Carolina released safety Kurt Coleman and defensive end Charles Johnson earlier this week.

Stewart earned a career-low 3.4 yards per carry average while sharing the backfield with first-round rookie Christian McCaffrey in 2017. Jettisoning Stewart opens a need in the Panthers' running corps for a between-the-tackles pounder to complement CMC in 2018.

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