Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton didn’t throw a pass or take a repetition Thursday while he continues his rehab from offseason shoulder surgery.
But Newton did a little bit of everything else – going though agility drills and so-called mental reps, acknowledging a young fan who yelled his name from a passing school bus and bringing juice to a practice he didn’t participate in.
“It’s good to have Cam out here. And even though he’s not involved, he brings some energy to it,” head coach Ron Rivera said.
“You know him, he can be a force whether he’s practicing or not. And it’s been good.
Never miss a local story.
“He’s getting a lot of work in. He’s behind the offense, getting a chance to see everything. He’s got the (helmet) mic on so he’s hearing what the calls are. He gets a chance to see things from a different perspective.”
Newton had surgery to repair a partially torn rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder in March after rest and rehab did not alleviate the pain. He is expected to miss all of OTAs and minicamp before returning for the start of training camp in July.
▪ Rivera watched incumbent Graham Gano and rookie Harrison Butker take some kicks Thursday, and could tell Butker was still getting used to the bigger footballs used in the NFL.
“He’s got to learn the sweet spot on the ball,” Rivera said. “A couple of his kicks that he hit, you could see them really spinning, which shows you he’s getting under the ball.”
Rivera wants the kickers to use OTAs to get comfortable working with long snapper J.J. Jansen and holders Andy Lee and Michael Palardy. He said the kicking competition won’t start in earnest until Spartanburg.
▪ Veteran defensive Julius Peppers was given the day off to work through some general soreness. Rookie receiver Curtis Samuel was excused following a death in his family, cornerback James Bradberry was attending his sister’s graduation and wide receiver Devin Funchess was out after rolling his ankle Wednesday.
▪ Tight end DeSean Smith, an undrafted rookie from LSU, left practice on a cart with an apparent lower-body injury.
▪ A couple of young defensive backs took advantage of increased reps with some nice plays. Cornerback Cole Luke, an undrafted rookie from Notre Dame, broke up a Joe Webb pass intended for tight end Ed Dickson. Later, safety Dezmen Southward, a third-round pick of the Falcons in 2013, scooped up a fumble by tight end Chris Manhertz and took it into the end zone.