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Thursday, February 23, 2012
Rivera: Shockey has talked of retiring

By Pat Yasinskas

Carolina tight end Jeremy Shockey might retire, coach Ron Rivera said Thursday at the scouting combine.

Rivera said he talked to Shockey at the end of last season and the veteran said retirement was a possibility. Shockey is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent. Rivera said Shockey is out of the country and the two haven’t talked recently.

“With him, who knows?’’ Rivera said.

That sums it up pretty well. Shockey is definitely a free spirit, and I think the Panthers are ready to go either way on a player who will turn 32 in August. If Shockey decides he wants to play again, I think the Panthers would have interest in re-signing him.

If he chooses to retire, I don’t think it’s a massive hit to the Panthers. Shockey did a nice job as a role player last season, but it is clear the Panthers view Greg Olsen as their main pass-catching tight end. If Shockey retires, the Panthers will surround Olsen with younger backups.