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2013 CAROLINA PANTHERS | OTA NOTEBOOK

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Panthers DE Greg Hardy remains MIA from OTAs

By Joseph Person
jperson@charlotteobserver.com

Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy was more active on social media this week than on the practice field.

Hardy, who emerged as a pass-rushing force opposite end Charles Johnson last season, again was a no-show for voluntary organized team activities Thursday.

Hardy was not at the Panthers’ OTA session on May 30 that was open to the media, and coach Ron Rivera indicated Hardy had missed multiple sessions this week as well.

Hardy is seeking a contract extension after a breakout season in 2012, although a source close to the player said his absences were unrelated to his contract.

Rivera said Hardy was taking “personal time.”

Hardy was the only player absent from Thursday’s practice, the last of 10 OTAs.

During the first week of OTAs, Rivera said he had to tell Hardy to back off his intensity during the non-contact drills.

“Remember, this is all voluntary,” Rivera said. “But when he’s here, he’s doing everything hard and doing it the right way. So I’m pretty excited about that.”

Hardy began posting as a verified user Wednesday on the social media site Reddit, and tweets from Hardy’s verified Twitter account were posted early Thursday morning.

Hardy would be fined if he misses any of next week’s mandatory, three-day minicamp. Rivera said he has exchanged text messages with Hardy, adding that Hardy was “doing well.”

Hardy, a sixth-round pick in 2010, had 11 sacks last season after recording seven his first two seasons combined. Drew Rosenhaus, Hardy’s agent, approached the Panthers during the offseason to initiate contract talks.

Hardy, who will make $1.35 million in the final year of his rookie deal, said last month he was not concerned about his contract.

“I’m getting some money this year. It’s more than I ever made in my life,” Hardy told the Observer. “I’m looking toward a championship. I know I’m going to play good. I know Drew’s the best agent in the game.”

Reinforcements up front: Left tackle Jordan Gross and center Ryan Kalil, both of whom are coming off foot surgeries, did their most extensive work this week. Kalil had surgery in October to repair a Lisfranc injury to his left foot, while Gross underwent offseason ankle surgery in February.

After being mainly spectators for most of the first two weeks of OTAs, Gross and Kalil resumed practicing after being cleared by the medical staff.

“It’s huge,” Rivera said. “Any time you get your veteran leaders out on the football field that’s a real big thing for your team. That’s a real good thing as far as keeping the cohesiveness and communication going.”

On his weekly podcast on the Panthers’ website, Gross said Kalil told offensive line coach John Matsko the two were ready to go. Gross joked that he would have preferred to ease back into drills.

“They did some stuff on the side a little bit, pushing and pulling each other just to see how it was,” Rivera said. “And then I think once they felt comfortable, they started going through some of the drills and teamwork.”

Rivera not all a-Twitter: While two of his coaching colleagues – Sean Payton and Bruce Arians – have started Twitter accounts recently, don’t look for Rivera to join them. Rivera said he gets all the social media he needs through his daughter, Courtney, a student at UCLA.

“Right now my daughter’s the one that gives me the heads-up on what’s happening on Twitter,” Rivera said. “So if any of our players do anything, she’ll text me and that’s about the extent of where I get it.”

Extra points: Punt returner Joe Adams continues to struggle hanging on to the ball. The fourth-round pick from 2012 dropped two consecutive punts Thursday, and was the only returner to have any difficulty fielding balls in the rain.

• First-year cornerback Melvin White, an undrafted free agent from Louisiana Lafayette, dropped a would-be interception on a pass by Derek Anderson during a red-zone drill before picking off Anderson on a similar throw on the next play.

• Newly acquired receiver Domenik Hixon sat out with an undisclosed injury, while cornerback Captain Munnerlyn (abdominal strain) and running back Jonathan Stewart (post-ankle surgery) remained sidelined.

Person: 704-358-5123
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