Johnson follows 'heart' back to Panthers


When it came down to it, Charles Johnson decided to follow his heart when deciding his NFL future.

The veteran defensive end told ESPN on Tuesday that he will return to the Carolina Panthers on a one-year contract after nearly signing with the New York Giants.

"I came pretty close [to going to New York], but ultimately my heart is in Carolina," Johnson said.  

Johnson, 29, tested the waters of free agency and fielded other offers worth as much as $6million, but ultimately agreed to a deal worth $3m to stay in Carolina, according to the Charlotte Observer.

A third-round draft pick by the Panthers in 2007, he signed a six-year, $72m deal in 2011 but was released last week, saving the team $11m in cap room.

"It's not about the money," Johnson told ESPN. "Carolina is home and I wouldn't have been happy if I went somewhere else."

Johnson has 63.5 sacks in his nine NFL seasons.