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Ravens: Haruki Nakamura signs three-year deal with Panthers

OWINGS MILLS -- Baltimore Ravens free agent safety and special-teams contributor Haruki Nakamura has signed a three-year contract with the Carolina Panthers.

Nakamura is an unrestricted free agent and is looking for increased playing time.

"I would love to be back with the Ravens, but I also want the opportunity to compete for more playing time," Nakamura told the Times prior to the start of free agency. "That's the next step I want to take. If Baltimore were to come back and say there's something of a guaranteed opportunity to compete for more playing time, then I would definitely be very interested.

"It's all about opportunity, it's not necessarily all about money. That's what this game is about. We'll see where that takes me."

Nakamura has played in 56 regular-season games for the Ravens, recording 23 tackles and four pass deflections on defense as a backup to Pro Bowl free safety Ed Reed, occasionally lining up at cornerback in emergency situations.

And the former sixth-round draft pick finished tied for second on the team with Brendon Ayanbadejo last season with nine special-teams tackles, deflecting two passes.

He intercepted a pass against the Kansas City Chiefs in a playoff game two seasons ago.

Learning behind Reed, Nakamura has gained a lot of knowledge about the game.

The Ravens' starters are set for next season with Reed opting not to retire and strong safety Bernard Pollard coming off a productive first year in Baltimore with 75 tackles, two sacks, one interception, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

"I learned so much from Ed and Dawan [Landry] and Bernard about how to be a true professional," Nakamura said. "Wherever I go, they're going to get a very determined football player who has grown and learned a lot. I'm ready to make a name for myself. Wherever that opportunity is, I'm trying to make a splash. I'm trying to make an impact."

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