Carolina Panthers

Panthers’ Bene Benwikere feels for injured friend

Carolina Panthers cornerback Bené Benwikere (25) steps in front of a pass intended for Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Paul Richardson during the 2015 NFC divisional playoff game at CenturyLink Field in January. The players grew up together outside Los Angeles.
Carolina Panthers cornerback Bené Benwikere (25) steps in front of a pass intended for Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Paul Richardson during the 2015 NFC divisional playoff game at CenturyLink Field in January. The players grew up together outside Los Angeles. Getty Images

Carolina Panthers cornerback Bené Benwikere has known Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Paul Richardson since they were boys growing up outside of Los Angeles. Since Seattle’s playoff victory over Carolina in January, the two have another shared memory, albeit a painful one for Richardson.

Richardson tore the ACL in his left knee early in the second half after getting tangled up with Benwikere while each ran stride for stride for a deep Russell Wilson pass that fell incomplete. After getting up slowly himself, Benwikere noticed Richardson still on the turf.

“I went back to go check on him, make sure he was OK. I told him I loved him,” Benwikere said. “But it’s a physical game and things happen. It was kind of a freak accident the way his knee messed up. We kind of got caught up on each other’s feet. His knee just kind of twisted a certain way.”

Richardson, who is on the physically unable to perform list, and Benwikere talk or text at least once a week. Benwikere saw Richardson’s family when he was in southern California for the bye week.

“We’ve known each other so long we don’t even talk about football. It’s not like, ‘What y’all doing?’ It’s just, ‘Are you still cool?’” Benwikere said. “So we just talk about normal things.”

Joseph Person: 704-358-5123, @josephperson

  Comments