Kelvin Benjamin's inaugural football camp
As everyone on the Rocky River High School football field watched, the boy wearing Superman-themed cleats backpedaled and threw a pass to his receiver about 5 yards downfield.
And much like Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, who is known for his Superman celebration, the boy completed the pass to wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin.
The play occurred Friday nearly two hours into Benjamin’s inaugural football camp. When the Panthers open training camp at Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C., on July 31, Benjamin will once again be making plays alongside Newton.
I’m looking to fully go in camp. ... I’m excited for my second year and trying to make things happen.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin
“I’m looking to fully go in camp,” said Benjamin, who missed 10 of 14 organized team activities with injuries to both hamstrings. “I’m feeling good, so I’m looking forward to it. I’m excited for my second year and trying to make things happen.”
Benjamin tweaked his left hamstring in May during the second phase of OTAs. He returned in June for the final week of OTAs only to aggravate his right hamstring during minicamp.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera said at the time that Benjamin’s hamstring issues could have been related to the wide receiver showing up to offseason workouts reportedly 8 to 9 pounds overweight.
Benjamin, who is 6-foot-5 and played at 245 pounds as a rookie in 2014, said on Friday that while he hasn’t stepped on a scale recently, he is at “playing weight.”
After being selected in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft out of Florida State, Benjamin led the Panthers with 73 catches for 1,008 yards and nine touchdowns, all Carolina rookie records.
I wanted to do something in Charlotte and give back to the kids.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, on his inaugural youth football camp
As Benjamin bounced around between stations on Friday and interacted with the 200 campers, they barraged him with questions, and some attempted to tackle the receiver, who got on his knees to be at eye level with them.
“I wanted to do something in Charlotte and give back to the kids,” Benjamin said. “This is the Panther nation, so I knew a lot of kids would know me. It’s crazy how they bring up catches from college days and that they remember that.
“It’s just great to get out here and see the kids, see some of the potential these kids have got already.”
Carolina Panthers training camp: Key dates
Thursday, July 30: Players report to Wofford College in Spartanburg.
Friday, July 31: First training camp practice, 6:30 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 7: Fan Fest, Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, begins 6:30 p.m., practice 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 14: Carolina at Buffalo, exhibition, 7 p.m.
Wednesday-Thursday, Aug. 19-20: Joint practices with Miami Dolphins in Spartanburg, 8:30 a.m. each day.
Saturday, Aug. 22: Miami at Carolina, exhibition, 7 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 28: New England at Carolina, exhibition, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 3: Carolina at Pittsburgh, exhibition, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 13: Season opener, Carolina at Jacksonville, 1 p.m.