Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera gave veterans Julius Peppers, Thomas Davis and Ryan Kalil the day off Wednesday.
Defensive end Charles Johnson was on the sideline Thursday.
All are members of the Panthers’ 30-and-over club – a group that goes 13 deep and is the big reason Carolina has the NFL’s third-oldest roster.
The Panthers’ average age on its Week 1 roster was 26.77 years, according to the NFL’s data. Only Arizona (27.47 years) and Buffalo (26.81) – Carolina’s Week 2 opponent – are older.
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The league average is 26.05 years.
Rivera is well aware of the Panthers’ greybeard contingent and is taking steps to try to get his older players through the season.
Rivera already was a proponent of what he calls “vet days,” and he indicated there would be a liberal supply of them this season.
“That’s what you’ve got to do with these guys. You’ve got to maintain and you’ve got to kind of keep an eye on them and manage things throughout the year,” Rivera said this week. “That’s just the way it is when you’ve got six or seven key veteran players like that.”
Peppers is the Panthers’ oldest player at 37, followed by safety Mike Adams (36), Davis and backup quarterback Derek Anderson (both 34).
Peppers, in his 16th season, says the scheduled days off are important for him and others in his age bracket.
“It’s a marathon,” he said. “We’ve got to make sure we can preserve our bodies for the rest of the season. So a day here and there I think is very helpful keeping the body up.”