Jones abruptly retires

Panthers TE Freddie Jones announced his retirement today."It was in the best interest of my family that I conclude my career at this time," Jones said of his retirement. "I appreciate the Panthers signing me. It¹s a top-notch organization and I¹m glad I got a chance to experience it before I retired.

Jones, who had been primarily a receiving tight end throughout his career, had been working primarily as a blocking tight end since his arrival with the Panthers and was behind both Mike Seidman and Kris Mangum on the depth chart. He did not play with the first or second string during a controlled scrimmage at Bank of America Stadium yesterday.

Initially, it appeared as though Carolina had brought Jones in to partially fill the void left by Muhsin Muhammad's departure. Jones is a big body, and can catch the ball well – he led all NFC tight ends in receptions in 2003. However, the Panthers wanted him to improve on his blocking technique; something he never was astute at during his pro or college career.

There won't be any fallout because of Jones' retirement; In fact, it might help the Panthers in the long run. Instead of keeping Jones and not using him, they'll be able to use his roster spot for a younger player and allow them to develop.

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