Carolina Panthers

Jenkins talks about life, the 'big' city of Charlotte and being a Panther

Carolina defensive tackle Kris Jenkins laughs during a break in drills.
Carolina defensive tackle Kris Jenkins laughs during a break in drills.

SPARTANBURG -- After an offseason when it seemed like Wofford College would be the last place you'd see Kris Jenkins come late July, the Pro Bowl defensive tackle was on the practice field Saturday when the Carolina Panthers began training camp.

He wasn't traded. He didn't hold out for a new contract and he didn't eat his way out of the NFL.

The speculation that Jenkins would not return to the Panthers has been rampant since the spring when the team made Jenkins available via trade before the NFL Draft. It grew as Jenkins stayed away from the team's offseason conditioning program and summer workouts and spent his time in the Washington, D.C., area.

Q: Did you think you'd be here?

A: Before I start talking about other things, I want to say that I've been here since my rookie year and thanks to Mr. Richardson and the Panthers organization, I've been able to feed my kids and, financially, put myself and my family in a better situation. A lot of people thought I had animosity with the team. That would never be the case.

I could never be upset with this organization for everything that they've given me. Sometimes, in business, people don't see eye to eye. That happens. It's something that was an in-house problem, so it will be dealt with in-house. I know a lot of people were asking me, "What's going on? What's the problem?" That stays between me and the organization.

Q: Has that "in-house problem" been taken care of?

A: Yeah, for the most part. I'm not going to go into detail. But, you know when you go to work, there might be somebody that you don't get along with? You still have to do the job you do.

Q: Why did you spend the offseason away from the team?

A: One reason is I have two kids. I have my older son who's in Charlotte and I have my younger son who's in Maryland. I can't make my youngest son suffer. He's starting to grow up and get older and I want to make sure that he has his father as well. I want to spend time with both of them.

There was one other reason for leaving, and that had nothing to do with all the other stuff people were talking about. To be honest with you, there are a lot of things that I've had a hard time coping with when I've been in Charlotte. It's not a bad thing. It's just reality.

I'm a city boy. I'm from Detroit, I lived in D.C. Then, I came to Charlotte and, for me, everything just slowed down. I've been here for six years and I just wanted to get to something more fast-paced and something that I would feel more comfortable in.

Q: Has there been talk of a new contract (the current deal runs through 2009)?

A: My agent and Marty have talked, but I think that was to see if I was coming to camp. I'll let them worry about that.

Q: How much do you weigh?

A: (Laughing) That's the million-dollar question. I can't answer that one.

Q: In general terms, are you comfortable with your weight?

A: I turned over a new leaf. My eating habits are different. My social habits are different. But I can't tell you the weight, though.