SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- Carolina Panthers safety Mike Minter said Friday he might retire before the start of the season due to severe knee pain.
The 33-year-old Minter, who had previously said 2007 would be his last season, has sat out several practices in training camp. He did not practice Friday morning and said he's been in discussions with team officials about whether his body will hold up.
"I wouldn't lie to you all, it's a possibility," Minter said of retiring before the end of training camp. "I'm not going to say I'm leaning that way because I want to do this. But is it a possibility? Yeah, it's a possibility."
Minter, entering his 11th season with Carolina, is the franchise's career leader in tackles. His 141 starts and 94 consecutive starts are also team records.
Minter took a pay cut to play one more season with the team that drafted him in the second round in 1997. Minter is expected to start at free safety alongside Chris Harris, who was acquired from Chicago in a trade on Thursday.
But Minter, who has had three knee surgeries, said it's been difficult to practice and he's worried that his body will be unable to last the entire season.
"We'll just see if the knees react right - if they can get back strong," Minter said. "Can I backpedal? Can I break? That type of stuff. Can I do it everyday? That's what I'm looking at."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press