Kris Jenkins announced his retirement on his Facebook page today. Jenkins played the last three seasons with the New York Jets, and still was a force when he wasn't injured. But as his career wound down, he was usually injured. He's 31.
A defensive tackle out of Maryland, he played his first seven seasons for Carolina. He was big, often enormous, yet remarkably quick, and he was fearless. Back when Tampa Bay ruled the NFC South, he loudly called out Tampa Bay star defensive tackle Warren Sapp (who will be in Charlotte Thursday to speak to the Touchdown Club).
The Panthers hadn't had players who did that. Jenkins could back it up.
I didn't know him well. He didn't like some of what I wrote, and said so to his friends, or friend, in the media. Just as it was my prerogative to criticize him, it was his to dislike me.
When Jenkins emerged in the early 2000s, there was an innocence about the Panthers. There also was potential. They were growing and you better watch out because weren't going to go quietly anymore.
Jenkins was a big part of that.