Jonesin' For a Good Return

The Carolina Panthers signed a player Monday they hope will be at least a temporary answer to their return game woes.

The Carolina Panthers have signed Mark Jones to handle their kickoff- and punt-return duties while they wait for Ryne Robinson’s recovery from a knee injury.

Jones, 27, was cut by San Diego last Saturday and will return to face the Chargers in the Panthers’ season-opening game this Sunday.

Jones played the previous three seasons in the NFC South with Tampa Bay. Last season, he averaged 28.6 yards on 10 kickoff returns and 11.9 yards on 12 punt returns.

After playing in college at Tennessee, he began his pro career in 2004 with the New York Giants, then moved to Tampa Bay in ’05.

Jones is listed as a wide receiver, but has no career catches.

He has been a consistent, if not spectacular, kick returner. He has a 24.8-yard average on 43 career kickoff returns and an 8.7 average on 43 punt returns.

He has yet to break a long return. His longest career kickoff return was 36 yards and his best punt return was a 35-yard gain.

The Panthers are expected to cut wide receiver Dominique Thompson to make run for Jones on the 53-man active roster.

His career has taken some interesting turns.

Jun 20, 2008: Signed as an unrestricted free agent San Diego Chargers by the one-year contract.
Jun 20, 2008: Signed as an unrestricted free agent San Diego Chargers.
Oct 24, 2007: Knee injury, injured reserve.
Sep 12, 2007: Re-signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Sep 1, 2007: Released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Dec 5, 2006: Re-signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Nov 13, 2006: Released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Sep 7, 2005: Signed as a free agent by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Sep 7, 2005: Signed as a free agent by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Sep 3, 2005: Waived by the New York Giants.
Sep 6, 2004: Claimed by the New York Giants off waivers from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Apr 25, 2004: Drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 7th round (206th overall) in 2004.

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Tags: Carolina Panthers Mark Jones San Diego Chargers Special Teams

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