Carolina Panthers

Hackett heads back to Seattle after East Coast trip through Charlotte

CHARLOTTE -- Free agent wide receiver D.J. Hackett left Charlotte on Saturday after visiting with Carolina Panthers officials, and headed back to Seattle to decide where he wants to play next year.

Hackett, 26, has shown great play-making potential during his four years in the league, but also a disturbing knack for not staying on the field. He's missed 31 games in four seasons, including 10 last year because of a high ankle sprain.

Still, he'd instantly upgrade the Panthers' receiving corps, a prospect he seemingly liked the sound of. While in Charlotte, Hackett met with coach John Fox and general manager Marty Hurney, and also spoke on the telephone with wide receiver Steve Smith.

One of his representatives, Kevin Robinson, called his trip a good one: "It went extremely well, he was pleased with what he heard," Robinson said.

Robinson said early Saturday afternoon that there hadn't been a formal offer made by the Panthers, but sources indicated that the Panthers had talked in general financial terms with another agent from the firm that represents Hackett.

Hurney, as per his custom, wouldn't comment on the specifics.

There's a feeling around the league that none of these trips will ultimately matter, that his East Coast jaunt through Washington, Tampa Bay and Charlotte was about building leverage with the Seahawks. When asked if he planned on taking his best offer back to Seattle, Robinson said: "All I can tell you is Seattle is very interested, and asked to be kept in the process."