Yes, coach Ron Rivera told USA Today the Panthers would be interested in Jackson after the Philadelphia Eagles cut the Pro Bowl wide receiver Friday. But there are several things you need to understand about that.
First, I'm told Rivera hadn't read the story documenting Jackson's questionable off-the-field behavior, not to mention his alleged association with reputed Los Angeles gang members who have been connected to two homicides since 2010, according to a NJ.com report. Jackson, in a statement, claimed he has no gang associations.
Second, Jackson attended California, the same college as Rivera. You don't expect him to trash a fellow Golden Bear, do you?
Third, multiple sources told me the Panthers made the decision before Jackson was cut not to pursue him. That hasn't changed even though Jackson is free of his big contract.
There's no denying the Panthers could use a player of Jackson's talent. But so could the Eagles, and they released him anyway.
What the Panthers don't need is the headache of a player with a known attitude and now with alleged connections to a gang. They released Pro Bowl wide receiver Steve Smith a few weeks ago amid speculation he could be a distraction, something Rivera denied was a factor.
They are happy with the addition of free agents Jerricho Cotchery and Tiquan Underwood. Neither are a No. 1 receiver as Jackson would be, but Rivera admitted Wednesday at the NFL owners meeting that the team may not need a No. 1 to be successful.
So before you get your hopes up that Jackson may come to Carolina, forget it.