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Carolina Panthers won’t bite on Brandon LaFell’s Patriots-practice-harder bait

PANTHERS_OTA
TODD SUMLIN - tsumlin@charlotteobserver.com
Roman Harper (41) and Tre Boston (33) watch during the Panthers' OTA workout Wednesday. Harper had thoughts on whether the New England Patriots really practice harder than the Carolina Panthers, and former Panthers receiver Brandon LaFell recently asserted.

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and coach Ron Rivera didn’t need to be apprised Wednesday of recent comments by former Panthers receiver Brandon LaFell.

Newton and Rivera demurred when asked about LaFell, now with New England, saying the Patriots work “a little harder” than the Panthers.

“That’s Brandon,” said Newton, who added he’s happy for LaFell and his new three-year, $9 million contract with the Patriots. “If that’s how he feels, that’s how he feels.

“I will always say I beg to differ. But that’s just me talking. ... I feel as if the Carolina Panther way is we don’t do too much talking. We have to prove it.”

LaFell, who was drafted by the Panthers in 2010 and played his first four seasons with Carolina, said last week he was impressed with how New England quarterback Tom Brady demands the most out of the offense. When the Patriots signed him in March, LaFell said he meant no disrespect to Newton but he was glad to be able to play with a future Hall of Fame quarterback.

“The way we work, the way we practice, is all new (to me),” LaFell said last week. “It’s not like we didn’t work hard in Carolina, but we work a little harder here.”

Rivera didn’t say much, either.

“That’s fine. He’s in New England. That’s his opinion,” Rivera said. “I’m not going to comment on a guy who’s not here anymore. I love the guy, he was a great player for us, and you move on.

“I think we work hard. I think we do exactly what we need to do. We do things we’re supposed to when we come out to practice and we work to get better.”

Neither Newton or Rivera have been with the Patriots, but Panthers safety Roman Harper has. In 2010 and 2012, the Patriots would practice against the Saints – Harper’s former team – before they played a preseason game.

He said he didn’t see anything special about the way New England practiced compared to New Orleans or Carolina.

“(Practicing hard) doesn’t guarantee you any wins at the end of the day,” Harper said. “That doesn’t guarantee you anything. It guarantees you opportunity that you might have a chance. I’ve actually practiced against the Patriots. They practice just like pretty much everybody else. It’s nothing too crazy. I know New Orleans practices hard. I feel competitiveness-wise, we definitely get after it (in Carolina). We compete every day.”

Jones: 704-358-5323; Twitter: @jjones9
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