CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -The Carolina Panthers released receiver Keyshawn Johnson on Tuesday, three days after they selected another former Southern California receiver in the second round of the draft.
It was thought Johnson would help groom Dwayne Jarrett of USC, taken in the second round with the 45th pick. But apparently Johnson was deemed expendable - he and Jarrett are both 6-foot-4 possession receivers.
The Panthers also selected receiver Ryne Robinson of Miami of Ohio in the fourth round of the draft. While he will likely be primarily used as a punt returner, he did catch 91 passes at Miami of Ohio last season. The Panthers also have receivers Drew Carter and Keary Colbert on the roster.
``We appreciated the contribution of Keyshawn in his season with the Panthers,'' coach John Fox said. ``He brought us high production, but at this time, we are in a situation in which we have a number of young receivers and thought this was the right time to make the decision.''
Johnson, who will turn 35 in July, had 70 catches for 815 yards and four touchdowns last season, his first with Carolina, and became the 16th player in NFL history with 800 career catches. The Panthers signed the former No. 1 overall pick last year after he was released by Dallas in a salary cap move so the Cowboys could sign Terrell Owens.
A call placed to Johnson Tuesday afternoon was not immediately returned.
Johnson worked as an analyst for ESPN during the network's draft coverage last weekend. When Carolina selected Jarrett, Johnson remarked he was ``much like me'' for his size and good hands and said he was looking forward to taking him under his wing.
Johnson has said in the past he would like to work in television after his career his over. He remarked recently he would also be interested in become a general manager of a team.
However, Johnson said late last season he wanted to play at least two more years and get to 1,000 career receptions. Johnson didn't appear to be slowing down last season.
Johnson was taken by the New York Jets with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1996 draft. He's always been productive, but has also clashed with coaches and teammates while earning the nickname ``Me-Shawn.'' He wrote the famous tell-all book, ``Just Give Me the Damn Ball'' after his rookie season that ruffled feathers.
Johnson later helped Tampa Bay win the Super Bowl in the 2002 season. But a year later, Johnson was deactivated for the final six games after a feud with coach Jon Gruden.
Still, Bill Parcells, who coached him in both New York and Dallas, called Johnson one of the best players he's ever coached, and there was no apparent rift between Johnson and Fox in Carolina. When Johnson signed with Carolina, he said he was content being the No. 2 receiver behind star Steve Smith.
``Keyshawn brought what we knew he would when we signed him and we wish him the very best,'' Panthers general manager Marty Hurney said.
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