Carolina Panthers

Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin faces childhood favorite in first NFL game

Carolina Panthers Kelvin Benjamin’s first NFL regular-season game will come in his home state of Florida against his favorite team growing up, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

But unlike many rookies who are bombarded with ticket requests, Benjamin has only been asked by seven family members for tickets.

“See, (those) rookies don’t know how to use their cell phones,” Benjamin said. “Turn it off! Turn it off!”

Benjamin said he grew up watching the Buccaneers from his hometown of Belle Glade, which is three hours southeast of Tampa. He recalled fullback Mike Alstott, defensive tackle Warren Sapp and safety John Lynch among his favorite Bucs growing up.

Benjamin has experienced a few minor injuries this preseason. He had a bruised left knee in training camp, and he jammed his middle finger during the final exhibition game.

Also against Pittsburgh last week, Benjamin “nicked” his right knee.

“I had a little nick on it, but it was fine,” he said. “They just wanted to wrap it to be cautious.

“I woke up the next day and it was just a little swollen, so they just wrapped it up.”