Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera kept a close eye on returning wide receivers Kelvin Benjamin and Stephen Hill during Wednesday’s conditioning test at Wofford.
The early results were positive.
Benjamin and Hill both tore knee ligaments at training camp last year and were lost for the season.
“I watched Kelvin. Real pleased with what we saw. Stephen Hill looked good moving around and running,” Rivera said. “That was good to see because these were guys that went through what they went through. And to see them running around like that, that was a big deal.”
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Benjamin, a former first-round pick, set Panthers rookie receiving records in 2015 when he caught 73 passes for 1,008 yards and nine touchdowns. He was in the midst of a strong preseason last year when he tore the ACL in his left knee during a 1-on-1 drill against a Miami Dolphins defensive back.
Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman said getting Benjamin back would be a big boost. “He’s the real deal,” Gettleman said. “We all know that.”
Rivera said Benjamin and middle linebacker Luke Kuechly, who underwent shoulder surgery in February, both were given the “all-clear” by the training staff. But Rivera indicated both would be eased back into action.
“We’re going to bring guys accordingly along,” Rivera said. “Just because they’ve been given the all-go, you don’t want to throw guys out there that haven’t been on the field and all of a sudden they’re going from 25 mph to 100 mph.”