Carolina Panthers

Panthers GM: Reports on receiver Kelvin Benjamin’s weight gain overblown

A team source told the Observer that receiver Kelvin Benjamin showed up for the start of workouts in April eight to nine pounds overweight.
A team source told the Observer that receiver Kelvin Benjamin showed up for the start of workouts in April eight to nine pounds overweight. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman says too much has been made about wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin's weight gain, and he expects the second-year player to be ready for the start of training camp next month.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Wednesday that Benjamin reported for offseason workouts overweight, speculating the extra pounds might have played a part Benjamin's two hamstring injuries over the past month.

A team source told the Observer the 6-foot-5 Benjamin, who played at 245 pounds as a rookie, showed up for the start of workouts in April eight to nine pounds overweight.

Gettleman said Benjamin had since shed some of the pounds.

"It really is much ado about nothing. Right now he's only five pounds off his playing weight. That's it," Gettleman said after the team wrapped up their three-day minicamp.

"This is what frustrates me sometimes, people want to create news. There's no news. He's a few pounds over, that's all. He'll be fine. He'll stay here in July and he'll be ready to rock and roll."

Benjamin has battled weight issues before. He took a redshirt season at Florida State after arriving on campus a reported 20 pounds overweight.

Rivera indicated Benjamin had been dieting and the Panthers want to look at whether Benjamin has a history of hamstring issues.

Benjamin, the first-round pick in 2014, set Panthers' rookie records with 73 catches for 1,008 yards and nine touchdowns.

But Benjamin missed 10 of the 14 practices during organized team activities and minicamp after injuring both his hamstrings. He practiced Tuesday, but was sidelined the last two days of minicamp.

Rivera spoke to Benjamin during Thursday's final session, and Gettleman talked to Benjamin as the two walked off the field.

"He had two tough breaks," Gettleman said. "He's a mentally tough kid. But at the end of the day, we're about being a family. And families pump each other up."

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