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Carolina Panthers DE Charles Johnson expects to play vs. Chiefs

0815PANTHERS_30
Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
Carolina Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson (right) missed nearly two weeks with a hamstring injury but returned to practice on Thursday.

When Carolina Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson tweeted he made it through his eighth NFL training camp, his teammates and coaches had some good-natured ribbing for him.

“And the guys said, ‘Oh you missed half of it,’” coach Ron Rivera said.

Johnson returned to practice Thursday after recovering from a hamstring strain suffered at training camp in Spartanburg. Johnson missed seven practices and one exhibition while sidelined for nearly two weeks.

“I was good today,” Johnsons said. “I kind of took it easy today.”

Johnson said he expects to play Sunday against the Chiefs in the Panthers’ second exhibition. Frank Alexander, whom Rivera called the team’s training camp MVP, started in place of Johnson in the exhibition against the Bills and has taken the majority of first-team reps opposite Greg Hardy in place of Johnson.

Rivera said he’s seen the continuity with the defensive line continue from last year into this preseason as Johnson continued to work to return to the field.

“He’s kept his weight, kept his conditioning, did a nice job while he was sidelined working the rest of his body, so it’s good to see him running around,” Rivera said.

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