Jolley "very" interested in joining Panthers

Once a sought-after NFL tight end, Doug Jolley is hoping to resurrect his flailing career with the Carolina Panthers. Jolley, an unrestricted free agent, met with Panthers officials on Wednesday (March 14) at Bank of America Stadium, but his agent Donald Yee said no deal was imminent.

"I think Doug would really fit well and get along very well in (new offensive coordinator) Jeff Davidson's system," Yee said. "So he's very interested in the Panthers."

Panthers general manager Marty Hurney did not return phone calls.

Although his career numbers don't reflect it, Jolley is considered a pass-catching tight end with limited blocking skills. In the past under Dan Henning, the Panthers might not have gone after a tight end whose strength wasn't blocking, but Davidson made it clear earlier this off-season he plans to throw more to the tight end.

Jolley, 28, is a five-year pro and would have a chance to start right away.

Carolina's only tight end under contract is Jeff King, although Michael Gaines, a restricted free agent, is expected to return as well.

After being selected in the second round in 2002, Jolley helped the Oakland Raiders reach the Super Bowl as a rookie, catching 32 passes for 409 yards and two touchdowns.

He added 31 receptions for 250 yards the following year and then 27 grabs for 313 yards in 2004 before the Raiders traded him to the New York Jets. The Jets gave up a first- and seventh-round pick to the Raiders in exchange for Jolley, a second-round pick and two sixth-round selections.

He was expected to explode in the Jets offense, but caught only 29 passes for 324 yards and one touchdown in his only season under coach Herm Edwards and then fell out of favor with new coach Eric Mangini and was traded to Tampa Bay on the eve of the 2006 regular season. He played in 11 games last season for the Bucs, with just one catch.

"He's really looking for a stable situation," Yee said.

What is surprising is the Panthers didn't make a run at one of the better pass receiving tight ends on the market -- like Daniel Graham or David Martin --when they had the chance.


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