When the Panthers brought back retired cornerback Charles Tillman to teach the young cornerbacks his “Peanut punch,” this wasn’t what they had in mind.
When rookie Daryl Worley tried Tillman’s ball-jarring technique on wide receiver Devin Funchess during Tuesday’s practice, Worley inadvertently caught Funchess’ neck with his fist and a fight ensued between the two starters.
Worley and Funchess ended up on the ground. When they got to their feet Funchess wouldn’t let go of Worley’s facemask, drawing a rebuke from Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott as McDermott tried to separate them.
When Worley then took his helmet off, Funchess tossed it in the air. There was a lot of subsequent chirping between receivers and defensive backs when the 1-on-1 drill resumed.
It was the first real fight of the preseason following a couple of shoving matches and a lot of trash talking in Spartanburg.
Funchess downplayed the incident to reporters after practice.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera talked to both players about keeping their cool, especially had it been a game.
“It’s just Devin understanding that the young guy’s trying to do something,” Rivera said. “It’s really one of those things that the guys have to (understand), hey, it’s part of football. It’s going to happen out there.”
“Because in the game it’s going to be the same thing and you can’t lose your composure because you don’t want to get a flag, you don’t want to get tossed,” he added. “We don’t want to lose a good player because of a play like that.”