Panthers news and notes 5-27

Carolina Panthers news and notes from the week that was. Keyshawn talks about joining ESPN, tidbits on Donte Rosario and Steve Smith talks about the new offense.

--The Carolina Panthers won't have to worry about seeing Keyshawn Johnson on the field this year.

Johnson announced his retirement from the NFL on May 23 to join ESPN as a studio analyst this fall.

Johnson, who worked the NFL draft in April for the network, will appear weekly on Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown. He will also contribute weekly columns to ESPN.com and appear on ESPN Radio's new NFL show hosted by Chris Mortensen and Bill Parcells.

Johnson was said to have turned down a two-year offer from Tennessee that would have paid him $8 million over two years.

"The opportunity to transition from active player to broadcaster at the level of ESPN and ABC was too great to pass up," said Johnson, who worked as an NFL draft analyst for ESPN last month. "Also, to be a member of the Disney family of companies is a great honor. Although I am currently able to play at the same high NFL level that many fans are used to seeing, walking away while at that level is what I have chosen to do.

"With teams attempting to sign me, and multi-year playing offers on the table, I realized that I have accomplished all of my goals as a professional football player. That fact, combined with this current opportunity, allows me to feel good about what I have accomplished as a player and what lies ahead in the next phase of my career."

--Panthers offensive tackle Jordan Gross went backstage to report on the most recent American Idol finals. An avid music fan, he worked for a local television station, analyzing the decisions of the judges.

--Rookie tight end Dante Rosario showed surprisingly good speed during minicamp and the Panthers are hoping he can be a contributor this year. He is currently third on the depth chart behind Michael Gaines and Jeff King.

The Panthers didn't re-sign free agent Mike Seidman this off-season and Kris Mangum retired.

QUOTABLE: "This offense is not new; there are just a lot of new wrinkles. This offense is going to open up a lot more for the run, so teams are going to have to commit a few more guys (in the box) and less out on me. That's going to give me, I feel like, a little bit more one-on-one coverage and I work well on one-on-one." -- Panthers WR Steve Smith.


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