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Panthers sign Jeremy Shockey to one year deal…


The Carolina Panthers found a potential boost for their NFL-worst offense Thursday by signing four-time Pro Bowl tight end Jeremy Shockey to a one-year deal.

Shockey, who was released by the New Orleans Saints last week, also received interest from the Miami Dolphins. He signed the contract — financial terms weren’t immediately available — just before the league’s collective bargaining agreement was set to expire.

Shockey will be reunited with Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, who was his position coach at the University of Miami.

“Time for the Next chapter,” Shockey wrote on his Facebook page. “This is a great opportunity for me, and I am excited to play football. Lets hope we all have the chance to play this season.”

Panthers coach Ron Rivera put an emphasis on acquiring a pass-catching tight end immediately after he was hired in January to replace John Fox following Carolina’s 2-14 season.

The flamboyant Shockey could be that guy, although the nine-year veteran has been slowed by injuries the past few seasons.

“We are very pleased to add Jeremy to our football team,” Rivera said in a statement released by the Panthers. “He is a highly competitive player with a good skill set and a wealth of experience. He should make a solid contribution to our offense.”

Shockey, who’s 6-foot-5 and 251 pounds, made the Pro Bowl in four of his first five seasons in the NFL with the New York Giants, but he also was known for brash comments and feuds with coach Tom Coughlin.

Shockey was traded to New Orleans before the 2008 season and caught a key touchdown pass in the Saints’ Super Bowl victory one year later. But Shockey labored through injuries in all three seasons in New Orleans, and the Saints cut him loose with $4.2 million due to him in 2011, the final year of his deal.

If he can stay healthy, Shockey, who had 41 catches for 408 yards and three touchdowns in 13 games last season, will provide a target at tight end not seen in years in Carolina.

Fox used tight ends mostly as blockers, and the Panthers had Jeff King, Dante Rosario and Gary Barnidge play there last season in a platoon. King and Rosario are potential free agents, although the Panthers placed restricted free-agent tenders on both players Wednesday.

What remains uncertain is who will throw Shockey the ball season. Rookie Jimmy Clausen was 1-9 as a starter last season, and the Panthers are considering signing a veteran or perhaps even selecting a quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick in next month’s draft.

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