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Panthers not interested in signing wide receiver DeSean Jackson, sources say

Despite what Panthers coach Ron Rivera told USA Today, the Panthers will not have interest in signing free agent wide receiver DeSean Jackson, two team sources said Friday.

Philadelphia released the 27-year-old Jackson on Friday amid a report by that Jackson has ties to two known gang members in Los Angeles who have been connected to a pair of homicides.

The Panthers have a need for a No. 1 receiver after releasing Steve Smith, the franchise's all-time receiving leader. Jackson is coming off one of his best seasons in 2013, when he caught 82 passes for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns.

"We'd be interested. He's an intriguing player and we'll take a look at him,'' Rivera told USA Today. "I just got word and this is surprising to hear. He's an explosive player who has great vertical speed and is strong going to the ball."

But according to the sources, the Panthers made the determination they wouldn't be interested in Jackson even before he was cut.

The Observer reported last week that the Panthers were among the teams contacted by Philadelphia to try to gauge possible trade interest in Jackson.

The Panthers have signed free agent receivers Jerricho Cotchery and Tiquan Underwood, and are expected to take a receiver high in the draft.