CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Carolina Panthers signed eight-year veteran Mike Minter to a four-year contract extension Friday, likely assuring the local favorite will finish his career with the team that drafted him.

Terms of the contract were not immediately available.

"It's rare when a player can start and finish his career with the same team, but we're glad that is the case with Mike," Panthers general manager Marty Hurney said. "Mike has been a guy who has been a strong leader in this locker room for a long time and an important member of the organization and we're glad to reach an agreement on a long-term deal."

Minter has started the last seven seasons at strong safety for the Panthers, but there was some question about his future with the team after Carolina drafted Georgia strong safety Thomas Davis in the first round of this year's NFL draft.

Head coach John Fox dispelled those myths earlier this year when he declared Minter was a "valuable member of the defense."

Minter started all 16 games at strong safety in 2004 and had 94 tackles, two sacks, one forced fumble, fumble recoveries and a team-leading 13 passes defended.

Minter was drafted out of Nebraska by the Panthers in the second round of the 1997 NFL draft. He is the franchise's all-time leader with 790 tackles, 15 forced fumbles, nine fumble recoveries, four interception returns for touchdowns and 371 interception return yards. He is second with 15 career interceptions and 109 games started, and third with 116 games played overall.

He led Carolina in tackles three times and accumulated more than 100 stops for four consecutive seasons from 2000-03, including a career-high 142 -- the third-highest single-season total in team history -- in 2000.

In 2003, he tied the team single-season record with two interception returns for touchdowns.

"I have always wanted to play and finish my career with the first team that I went to," Minter said. "I have been through some lean years here and I feel like the best is about to come and I want to be part of that. Plus, my family and I have been here for eight years, and we have established some deep roots."