A week after returning from one hamstring injury, second-year Panthers receiver Kelvin Benjamin has another hamstring injury that caused him to miss Wednesday’s minicamp practice.
Benjamin said the injury to his right hamstring will likely keep him out of Thursday’s final minicamp practice, and Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera believes the hamstring issues could be related to Benjamin showing up to OTAs (organized team activities) overweight.
According to a team source, Benjamin, who played last season at 245 pounds, showed up to offseason workouts eight to nine pounds overweight.
“It could be as simple as weight,” Rivera said in an attempt to explain why Benjamin suffered another hamstring injury just as he returned from one.
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“He did come in a little heavy and he had to work himself into shape. Or diet or something. We’re going to take a look at it and make sure it’s not a chronic issue with him. He’s too good a football player to have on the sideline.”
This isn’t the first time Benjamin has shown up to a camp overweight. He was so overweight when he first arrived to Florida State—reportedly 20 pounds—that Seminoles coaches couldn’t justify putting him on the field and used a redshirt for him.
Benjamin tweaked his left hamstring during the second phase of OTAs last month. He sat out for the first two weeks of the third phase of OTAs before returning last week in the final week of OTAs.
Benjamin won’t be back in action until the Panthers start training camp in late July following the Panthers’ six-week long break after Thursday.
“I want to get back out there so bad and be with the guys, but everybody tells me be patient, be patient. Everything happens for a reason,” Benjamin said. “I’m missing the time with (quarterback) Cam (Newton), but we’ll pick it up quick.”
Rivera said the 6-foot-5 receiver knows that his team is better with him on the field, and the coach seemed impressed with Benjamin’s work ethic since coming to camp overweight.
“Kelvin works very hard at getting back on the field,” Rivera said. “He was in early this morning getting treatment, getting the things he needs to. He gets it and he understands it. He’s very important to what we want to do on the offensive side because he creates matchup problems.”
Jones: 704-358-5323; Twitter: @jjones9