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Imprisoned former Panthers player Rae Carruth breaks his silence

Former Carolina Panthers receiver Rae Carruth at his 2001 trial. (AP)

Eight months before he is set to be released from a North Carolina prison, former Carolina Panthers receiver Rae Carruth has given his first prison interview in years.

Now 44 years old, Carruth has spent over 17 years at the Sampson Correctional Institution in Clinton, North Carolina, roughly 170 miles east of Charlotte. In January 2001, Carruth was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder and other charges, after he paid another man to shoot Cherica Adams on Nov. 16, 1999.

Adams was eight months pregnant with Carruth’s son; she was shot four times. The baby, Chancellor Lee, was delivered by emergency C-section and suffered permanent brain damage due to a lack of oxygen before he was born. Adams died a month later.

Saundra Adams, Cherica’s mother, has been raising Chancellor Adams since he was born.

Carruth sent a 3,000-word handwritten letter to WBTV in Charlotte, addressed to Saundra Adams; he also, after some discussion, agreed to an on-the-record interview with reporter Sarah-Blake Morgan via telephone.

Carruth also included a cover letter, which he began by writing that he’s “accepted my lot as a social pariah,” but that he wanted to debunk the lies he believes Saundra Adams has told about him.

After thanking Adams for the “unconditional care, compassion, love, and support” that she has “showered” Chancellor with since he was born.

Carruth said he’s sent letters to Adams before, but hasn’t gotten any responses. So he sent the letter to the television station.

“I feel like if I did it in the open, it would put an end to the lies. If I say publicly, ‘Ms. Adams, I apologize. Ms. Adams, I take responsibility for what happened,’ that she can no longer get on television and do an interview and say ‘Rae has never apologized to me,’ ” Carruth told the reporter, Morgan.

Carruth would not speak specifically about the night Cherica Adams was shot, though he did offer some apologies.

“I’m apologizing for the loss of her daughter. I’m apologizing for the impairment of my son,” Carruth said. “I feel responsible for everything that happened. And I just want her to know that truly I am sorry for everything.”

Carruth has met Chancellor twice, when he was a young boy; he celebrated his 18th birthday a couple of months ago.

He said that when he gets out of prison he wants to help care for his son; in his letter, he tells Adams that she won’t live forever.

Adams told WBTV that Carruth will “never” have custody of Chancellor.

And we’ve told you about all we want about Carruth. You can read his letter.

But if you’d like to read something truly great, read this about Chancellor as he approached his 18th birthday, or this piece from Sports Illustrated, “The boy they couldn’t kill.”

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