Panthers kick returner Mark Jones fails his physical

Sept. 7, 2009 at 4:07 a.m.

By David Scott

McClatchy Newspapers

(MCT)

The Carolina Panthers' punt-returner situation took a twist Monday and remains in flux.

Carolina was hoping for a solution in Mark Jones, who returned kicks and punts last season for the Panthers. But Jones said he failed a physical Monday at Bank of America Stadium, leaving the team with its original punt-return options from the preseason — Kenneth Moore and rookie Captain Munnerlyn — for now.

Moore and Munnerlyn both fumbled in an exhibition loss last week against Pittsburgh.

Jones hurt his hamstring with the Tennessee Titans in the preseason and said the physical revealed an unhealed tear in the muscle.

He said he hopes the injury will continue to mend in time for him to still join the Panthers.

But not for Sunday's season opener against Philadelphia.

"I'm disappointed," said Jones. "But I'm not worried. I think I can come right back and be ready for Week 2."

He averaged 11.4 yards on 39 punt returns last season. He didn't score, but had a long return of 55 yards. He also returned kickoffs, averaging 24.0 yards, with a long of 59.

Briefly

The Panthers added two players to their practice roster. Center Dustin Frye was in Cleveland's training camp and played at Clemson. Cornerback Marcus Walker, a rookie out of Oklahoma, was with Minnesota in the preseason.

The Panthers have one more player to add to complete their eight-man practice roster. On Sunday they signed five players who were with them in the preseason: Quarterback Hunter Caldwell, receiver Jason Chery, linebackers Mortty Ivy and Kelvin Smith and defensive tackle George Hypolite .

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(c) 2009, The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C.).

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