Player News - Panthers

Date: Team: Pos:

Panthers DE Charles Johnson (back) is participating during OTAs.

Johnson underwent a microdiscectomy back surgery in March and wasn't expected back until after the entire offseason program. Johnson said "once I had the surgery (the pain) instantly went away." The surgery was successful and he is currently ahead of schedule.
May 25 - 12:01 PM

Luke Kuechly said he is tired of hearing questions about his concussions.

"Hopefully we can move on from that and not ask any more questions about concussions," Kuechly said. "I'm done with that." Kuechly also added he does not think about suffering another head injury. The linebacker is clearly trying to move away from the concerns, but the fact remains he has missed nine games in the last two seasons because of head injuries. They will remain a concern even if he does not want to talk about them.
Source: ESPN
May 25 - 11:49 AM

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said he thinks criticism of Kelvin Benjamin's conditioning has been unfair.

Benjamin looks heavy in pictures and videos from OTAs, but Rivera said he likes where the receiver is in terms of his conditioning. Of course, Rivera is the one who said Benjamin reported for the offseason program "a little heavy." Even if he is not in top shape right now, Benjamin has time to get there before camp.
May 25 - 11:41 AM

Devin Funchess is sitting out Thursday's OTA practice with an ankle injury.

Funchess reportedly rolled his ankle during Wednesday's session. This appears to be a minor injury, but it a bad start for a player who has disappointed through two seasons. Funchess has a chance to play a bigger role this year, but he will need to stay healthy to earn targets.
May 25 - 9:35 AM

Panthers OT Michael Oher plans to attend the mandatory minicamp next month.

Oher is skipping OTAs for "personal matters" which reportedly reach beyond his concussion concerns and misdemeanor assault case, but the nature of those issues have not been reported. Oher is currently penciled in at right tackle, but it is not a given he earns medical clearance after losing his 2016 season to concussions. His future is truly up in the air.
Source: ESPN
May 23 - 12:34 PM

The Charlotte Observer reports Panthers OT Michael Oher's absence from the offseason program is not just concussion-related.

Per reporter Joseph Person, Oher is dealing with "personal matters" beyond his misdemeanor assault case. He is also reported to be out of shape. Oher remains penciled in as the Panthers' right tackle, but second-rounder Taylor Moton looms as a back-up plan. There's been no indication Oher is close to being cleared from the concussion that wrecked his 2016.
May 22 - 2:54 PM

Panthers K Graham Gano (heel) has been medically cleared.

Gano had surgery in mid-January after playing through a broken bone in his foot last season. It's part of the reason for his 2016 struggles. Gano needs to hold off seventh-rounder Harrison Butker to keep his job.
May 20 - 2:50 PM

Kelvin Benjamin said he knows he needs "to be in the best shape of (his) life" this season.

Benjamin was called out by coach Ron Rivera for being "a little heavy" at the start of the offseason program, but he has been putting in extra work ever since to get into shape. "I was really kind of disappointed," Benjamin said. "I wanted to come in and set the bar high for myself and let my teammates know that KB is back this year and he’s ready to roll." With two new dynamic weapons in Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel, Benjamin will have to show better this season to retain his target share. Getting in shape would be a good first step.
May 18 - 11:56 AM

Panthers DC Steve Wilks said he wants to limit WLB Thomas Davis' snaps this season.

"With Thomas Davis getting up there in age and years, we've got to cut down on his reps," Wilks said. "So there will be times where Shaq (Thompson) is going to be in, and we're going to try to relieve Thomas to give him some rest." Thompson was selected in the 2015 first round to take some of the load off and eventually replace Davis, but the 34-year-old has played over 1,000 snaps each of the last two seasons. That number could come down slightly, but the Panthers are better with Davis on the field. If they want to get Thompson more snaps, they need to find another way to do it.
May 16 - 10:12 AM

Panthers first-round RB Christian McCaffrey will be away from the team until mid-June.

He's still taking classes at Stanford and won't be available until the end of the quarter. McCaffrey was present for the Panthers' rookie minicamp last weekend so he shouldn't be too far behind his teammates even if he misses a chunk of OTAs. Ultimately this shouldn't affect how fantasy owners draft him.
May 12 - 2:14 PM

The next court date for Panthers LT Michael Oher in his misdemeanor assault case is June 6.

Oher was accused of assaulting an Uber driver in April. Oher's concussions remain the more worrying issue, as his health is unclear. The Panthers drafted tackle Taylor Moton in the second round. For now, he's more of an option on the right side, but that could change if Oher's status remains up in the air.
May 9 - 2:39 PM

Kelvin Benjamin has been getting "extra treatment" at Panthers workouts this offseason.

The Charlotte Observer took it as a euphemism for Benjamin trying to get in better shape. Speaking about the situation, coach Ron Rivera — who recently acknowledged Benjamin is "a little heavy" — said Benjamin has worked very hard "when he's been around." The hope now is that Benjamin takes better care of himself away from the team.
May 8 - 3:11 PM

Panthers second-round pick Taylor Moton worked at both tackle spots during rookie minicamp.

With a limited roster, rookies are often trained at multiple positions during minicamp, but this is notable because coach Ron Rivera made it sound like Moton would be something of a swing tackle as a rookie. "He’s going to have to be ambidextrous," Rivera said. "He’s going to have to be able to play left side and right side ... and give that added depth." Moton should get a shot at the right tackle job in camp, but he might have to settle for a reserve spot as a rookie.
May 6 - 11:19 AM

Panthers signed fifth-round CB Corn Elder and seventh-round K Harrison Butker to four-year contracts.

The Panthers have now signed all seven of their draft picks as well as five undrafted rookies. Elder was selected 152nd overall following a standout career at Miami. Best suited for slot cornerback, Elder should open his big-league career playing special teams and backing up Captain Munnerlyn.
May 5 - 1:20 PM

Panthers signed second-round WR/RB Curtis Samuel and third-round DE Daeshon Hall to four-year contracts.

With their first two picks in the draft, the Panthers added a pair of unique offensive talents in Christian McCaffrey and Samuel, both of whom can play running back and receiver. Samuel is expected to be the Panthers' primary slot receiver. He has "oh my gosh" speed at 4.31, as GM Dave Gettleman likes to say, and has drawn some Percy Harvin comparisons.
May 5 - 9:42 AM


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