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September 01, 2008

Breaking news: Panthers sign Jones to return kicks

Markjones2 The Carolina Panthers have signed Mark Jones to handle their kickoff- and punt-return duties while they wait for Ryne Robinson's recovery from a knee injury.

Jones, 27, was cut by San Diego last Saturday and will return to face the Chargers in the Panthers' season-opening game this Sunday.

Jones played the previous three seasons in the NFC South with Tampa Bay. Last season, he averaged 28.6 yards on 10 kickoff returns and 11.9 yards on 12 punt returns.

After playing in college at Tennessee, he began his pro career in 2004 with the New York Giants, then moved to Tampa Bay in '05.

Jones is listed as a wide receiver, but has no career catches.

He has been a consistent, if not spectacular, kick returner. He has a 24.8-yard average on 43 career kickoff returns and an 8.7 average on 43 punt returns.

He has yet to break a long return. His longest career kickoff return was 36 yards and his best punt return was a 35-yard gain.

The Panthers are expected to cut wide receiver Dominique Thompson to make run for Jones on the 53-man active roster.

-- Charles Chandler

Posted by Observer Sports on September 1, 2008 at 12:23 PM | Permalink


Ugh...now there's a stud. Who wouldn't want an average kick returner coming off a knee injury?

Posted by: Michael Procton | Sep 1, 2008 12:40:55 PM

Go to your Labor Day cookout Procton!Stay off the blogs & boards so it can a peaceful holiday!

Posted by: panfan1 | Sep 1, 2008 1:05:56 PM

This is crazy! This KR/PR issue was prevalent last season and here we are going into the season, trying to find someone to fill a void that was identifed last year. get it together Fox and Hurney, you know you are on your last year if you screw up!

Posted by: Sam | Sep 1, 2008 1:25:07 PM

Pipe down. They are looking due to injury. Be a fan not a I told you so sofa GM.

Posted by: PantherHead | Sep 1, 2008 1:33:22 PM

Son, why are you a dick?

Posted by: Procton's Dad | Sep 1, 2008 2:02:01 PM

I think this guy could lend some insight into SD's kick & punt coverage. He's seen it all training camp.

Posted by: carpants | Sep 1, 2008 2:03:51 PM

A consistant returner. It will work. Now at least we are solid in all three phases. How is SD's offensive line? Any chance we affect them like NYG vs PAT?

Posted by: Gut | Sep 1, 2008 2:20:32 PM

Good point there carpants, Jones just might be able to provide a few tips to both return and coverage units. And, maybe a little more on what is going on over there.

From what I have heard Ryne may be back by the Chicago game. Or Minn. at the latest. So Jones is just a short term fix. IMO picking up a vet with solid numbers, was a wise move. He doesn't need to be spectacular, just mistake free with solid numbers.

I know I will regret this but... Procton, no where in that article did it say Jones has been injured. But don't let facts get in the way of your drivel.

Thanks for your time. GO CATS! and JAKE!

Posted by: iamhubby | Sep 1, 2008 2:34:27 PM

Man I think thompson has the ability to be another ricky proehl. He gets into the seams and catches everything thrown to him. very reliable receiver, not flashy. I think they better keep him around somewhere, they will need him when these high dollar guys don't produce.

Posted by: mountaincat | Sep 1, 2008 2:57:07 PM


Posted by: Carl Leazer | Sep 1, 2008 3:09:28 PM

According to FOX Sports Jones has never had an injury reported in the NFL. Prcton may have been referring to RR coming back from injury.

Posted by: heelzrule | Sep 1, 2008 3:16:38 PM

Looks good to me. They got a guy with several years of experience returning kicks. Robinson started very slowly last season, as if he didn't understand what was required of him.

Kickoff returns require, mostly, straight ahead running behind the wedge, then quick decisions. No time for juking around. Punt returns require quickness and elusiveness more than pure speed, plus the guts to stand there looking up while the gunners are coming at you full speed . I hope Jones brings it like his 2007 averages suggest.

This signing also gives Robinson time to recover completely, without rushing back at less than 100%.

Posted by: FrankieB2 | Sep 1, 2008 3:45:31 PM

I've seen in a couple of places that Jones missed most of last season with some sort of knee injury. I believe it was the kneecap.


Posted by: dogear | Sep 1, 2008 3:52:10 PM

Carl, mountaincat was referring to THOMPSON, not Jones. Read it again.

Posted by: Henry | Sep 1, 2008 3:52:38 PM


Jones played with Tampa Bay and injured his knee last year, October 24, 2007...landing him on injured reserve. He took the off-season to recover and San Diego had picked him up for KR/PR competition in training camp. They subsequently cut him, hence we were able to pick him up. According to his performance in the Chargers' camp, however, his previously injured knee wasn't an issue.


Posted by: NSpicer | Sep 1, 2008 3:55:33 PM

It's funny how procton goes away while he can't say anything negative about the panthers and then when he can bitch, he's right back on - two minutes after a story comes out. Get a f'n life dude or go root for another team. And they just signed Jones to fill in for a game while Robinson is injured. Who cares? They needed somebody to do it, and weren't going to risk Stewart or Williams on kickoffs, and Smith or Gamble in punts. Robinson will be back hopefully by week 2 and we'll have our guy back.

*****Awaiting Procton to give me stats about how bad Robinson was last year*****

The guy has skills....give him a chance in year two, I think he progressed well at the end of the year last year. But that's why Hurney and Fox are making the calls and not you douchebag.

Posted by: jb | Sep 1, 2008 3:57:48 PM

Carl Leazer, Mountaincat was talking about Dominique Thompson, the guy we cut to put Jones on the roster. He was just lamenting the loss.

Posted by: John | Sep 1, 2008 4:01:42 PM

Where did you get Mark's stats from? NFL.com says he only has 18 kickoff returns (ave 24.8) and 117 Punt returns (ave 8.7). Just FYI.

Posted by: Ryan H | Sep 1, 2008 4:36:35 PM

Great;we pick up a guy from San Diego,by way of Tampa Bay,a team that has only one punt or kickoff return for a touchdown in their entire history,and it's not even him;they should have kept Thompson;he seemed consistant to me.

Posted by: panfan | Sep 1, 2008 4:53:55 PM

The reason we picked up Mark Jones instead of Eddie Drummond or someone like that is probably because we only plan to keep Jones around until Robinson comes back, and thats probably not too long from now. We probably just wanted to sign someone cheap so it wont be a big deal when we cut them in a week or two. And theres no point in lamenting the loss of Thompson...he'd be the one we cut when Smith comes back anyway.

Posted by: DB | Sep 1, 2008 5:22:44 PM

Procton, there is not much out there these are why these players were cut. Who would you have signed?

Posted by: jeff | Sep 1, 2008 5:47:39 PM

Advice for everyone:

Stop humoring Procton by acknowledging his presence. As hard as it must be for you all, just stop responding to his comments.

Posted by: MT | Sep 1, 2008 5:53:25 PM

they are looking for a temp solution meaning that they cant sign a guy that they will have to pay for the whole season. Not sure if this guy is a vested veteran or not but money is the issue. They only want someone for a few weeks, maybe just 2 weeks rhynes not healthy give Smith the PR duties.

Posted by: chknwing | Sep 1, 2008 5:55:10 PM

A quick check also seems to indicate Eddie Drummond would have cost the Panthers $595K/year, whereas Jones comes cheap at $445K/year. Presumably, that's money they can spend elsewhere or save when they cut him after Ryne Robinson's return.

Posted by: NSpicer | Sep 1, 2008 5:56:17 PM

Charger Fan speaking. Looking in on your site to pick up on the chatter. Saw Panthers had signed Jones. He looked good for us, but is behind Sproles and Cromartie as a returner. We're happy for him and you will be glad you have him.

Sunny and 80 at gametime Sunday. Can Not Wait!!


Posted by: Milton Poindexter | Sep 1, 2008 6:13:16 PM

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