Cooper has also been charged twice in the past three years with
driving while impaired.
He was suspended for four games and docked six weeks pay by the
NFL for violating the league's substance abuse policy following his
second DWI arrest on Sept. 16, 2003.
His latest trouble came Oct. 22 when a Charlotte-Mecklenburg
County police officer pulled him over, said spokeswoman Julia Rush
of the Mecklenburg County Jail. An arrest warrant was issued three
days later for "allegedly giving false information to a police
officer," Rush said.
The Panthers announced his release shortly before he turned
himself in at the Charlotte Mecklenburg County Jail on Thursday.
The players found out earlier in the day during a team meeting.
Panthers coach John Fox declined to say much about the decision
after practice Thursday.
"Every personnel decision we make, we make to make us a better
football team," Fox said. "They are all football decisions. We
are not really able to comment on that without getting into
specifics. We thought it was best for our football team."
Cooper, a backup safety, led the Panthers with nine special
teams tackles during the 2003 postseason.
Soon before the Panthers played in last season's Super Bowl,
Cooper thanked team owner Jerry Richardson for giving him a third
chance with the team.
"Coach Fox and Mr. Richardson put their neck on the line for
me," Cooper said. "For them to give me another chance, I didn't
believe it. You want to talk about miracles? That was a miracle
right there. I thought when I was coming in to talk to Coach Fox
that I was gone. I thought that was going to be the end of my
career. And I went over to Mr. Richardson's house and he pretty
much put the ball in my court. ... They don't ask for anything
outrageous. Just do your job and do the right thing."
The Panthers replaced Cooper on the 53-man roster with Micah
Ross, who was waived Monday by the San Diego Chargers. Ross is
expected to replace Cooper this week as a gunner on special teams
when the Panthers play at the Seattle Seahawks.