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FILE - This Jan. 3, 2001, file photo shows former Carolina Panthers football player Rae Carruth sitting at the defense table during his trial in Charlotte, N.C. Lawyers for Carruth are asking a federal appeals court to reconsider his conviction for plotting to kill his pregnant girlfriend. A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, VA., will hear oral arguments in the case Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2010. (AP Photo/Jeff Siner, Pool, File)

JEFF SINER/Associated Press

Convicted murderer and former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Rae Carruth has broken nearly two decades of silence, issuing an apology to the mother of Cherica Adams, the woman he killed who at the time was seven months pregnant with his son.

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

“If I could change anything, I’d change the whole situation. His mother would still be here and I wouldn’t be where I’m at. So that’s what I’d want to change. I want the incident to never have happened at all.”

Carruth is scheduled to be released from prison in October after being found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder as well as shooting into an occupied dwelling and using an instrument to destroy an unborn child. He was found not guilty of first-degree murder but was sentenced to 18-24 years in prison.

The now-44-year-old was at the time a promising young receiver for the Panthers and two years removed from being their first-round draft choice. Chancellor Adams, the son who nearly died after being born prematurely, is now 18 years old. 

Carruth said he hopes to build a relationship with Chancellor after he leaves prison.

“I should be raising my son. His mother should be raising her son. Ms. Adams should not be doing this and I want that responsibility back,” he said. “I feel like he might not ever have his mother in his life but he could still have me and I could still make a difference and I don’t think that’s anyone’s responsibility when I’m still here.”

Carruth also said he has found God during his time in prison and looks forward to living out of the spotlight once he is released.

“When I first got incarcerated I would ask myself how did this happen? How are you here? And the number one answer that I had was I didn’t have a relationship with God,” he said. “And I know some people might smirk or laugh about that but I know now that I have a very real relationship with God and that’s changed a lot of the ways that I see and view a lot of things.”

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