Two-time Super Bowl winner Jeremy Shockey signed a one year contract to play for the Carolina Panthers this season. Other teams showed interest in Shockey but he felt as though Charlotte was the best place for him and he also wanted to reunite with his former college coach, Rob Chudzinski, who will be the offensive coordinator. In years past, the Panthers have opted for blocking tight ends, but Carolina’s coach Ron Rivera, who replaced John Fox in January, had a pass-catching tight end at the top of his list for improving what was the NFL’s worst record at 2-14 last season. A Pro Bowl selection in four of his first five seasons with the New York Giants, one of which resulted in a Super Bowl win, Shockey’s brash talking and arrogant attitude led to him leaving the Big Apple and heading to New Orleans. Again he tasted Super Bowl glory with the Saints, but injuries have hindered his progress in the last three seasons, and New Orleans decided to release him with Shockey set to make around $4 million this upcoming season.
Jeremy Shockey joined WFNZ in Charlotte to talk about him signing with the Panthers, if he has chatted with the Panthers about the kind of role he will play this season, and if it bothered him to come and play for an owner that has not been too fond of the NFLPA.
On him signing with the Panthers:
“I met the owner, Mr. Richardson, he was a straight-shooter, he looked me in the eye and was real sincere in the things he had to say, Coach Rivera has some great things ahead of him as a head coach, obviously the offensive coordinator, Rob Chudzinski, I knew him from Miami as a tight ends coach and as an offensive coordinator at Miami. It just made sense. It is something that I had a chance to meet with a bunch of teams and meet with a bunch of owners and things like that but to me, I had this thing, sort of a gut feeling and it is exciting, it is a young ball club compared to some of the other ball clubs I have been in and it is a very intriguing situation for me.”
If he has chatted with the Panthers about the kind of role he will play this season:
“It is really premature right now. It is obviously, like you said earlier about this lockout deal, it keep getting extended and extended, and obviously they players, on our side we want to get this thing done. A lot of people out there and saying, it is a millionaire vs. billionaire deal, it is not that, trust me. The average NFL player does not make $1 million dollars a year…and in the NFL an average player only plays three years, so it is not really about that. That is just things going out there in the media. They are locking their doors. We are trying to go to work and we can’t. Imagine you going to the studio and the doors are locked, so that is what it is. This thing will get worked out, I am sure. I think both sides are making some great moves. Obviously when negotiating this deal they got to mediate, everything. They are going in the right direction. It is just frustrating for players because we want to be able to have an offseason, be able to meet, in my case, I am in a new situation to meet new teammates and go over some playcalling, like some things you said earlier. It is just frustrating. I am sure it will be getting delayed for another two or three weeks and then hopefully a deal will get, you know, done.”
If it bothered him to come and play for an owner that has not been too fond of the NFLPA:
“Not at all. Not at all. I think as the media portrayed this thing about what he said he said to some players or something like that. I don’t believe that is the case and what happened. I was not there. I am one of those guys that has to be there and see it, hear it to touch to see if it is real, so I don’t think that was a big issue. He was a very, very, very polite, very southern hospitality kind of guy, so I don’t see that happening, what everyone said. It was not frustrating, I did not realize how big, to be honest with you, he is very tall. He played tight end in the league for three years. He is the only owner in the league that has played the game. He is probably the only guy that actually gets what it is. What happens on both sides, so he is a very smart person. He went and played in this league and be in this league and know how hard it is on players, and then go to an owner and do the opposite. He has got a lot of common sense to him and I am just excited to be able to work for him, and be a Panther and, like you said. It is just frustrating on both sides because you really don’t know what is real. I am not in the room. I am not on the committee. I get emails and this and that, and see new statements, but it hard to put all of that together because there is so many opinions and objectives and things of that nature, and it is just all lawyers, that is where it is going right now, all of the lawyers have stepped in and obviously hopefully there is some progress being made…”
How his health is:
“I feel fine, I feel fine. I have been working out for about two weeks now solid and just getting back into the routine of things. Health has been good and you know in this game it is so damaging to your body and it is hard to stay healthy for one year, and this is my tenth career coming up. It seems like I was a rookie yesterday and I am 30 years old now and I still feel like I have great football ahead of me and I am glad Coach Rivera gave me an opportunity to become a Panther.”