SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Wide receiver Fozzy Whittaker couldn't be more excited about starting his second season with the Panthers.
And fans should be excited to hear that Benjamin is ready to hit the ground running.
Benjamin, among the first to arrive at the players' dorms at Wofford College on Thursday morning for the start of training camp, said he'd be full go when the Panthers practice for the first time Friday evening.
"I feel great," Benjamin said. "I told the trainers that I'm full to go the first day."
That's good news after Benjamin missed the first two weeks of organized team activities with a hamstring injury in late May, then returned only to injure the other hamstring in the minicamp that wrapped up offseason training in mid-June.
Benjamin faced some questions about his weight and conditioning during that stretch but said that's not a concern, saying he expects the scales to reveal he's near his playing weight of 245 pounds.
"I'm used to it, all through college," Benjamin said. "It's something that pushes you and motivates you and gets you going."
Benjamin hopes to build on a rookie campaign in which he topped 1,000 receiving yards but is more focused on team goals than any individual ones. He believes the Panthers, the two-time NFC South champions, can make a push for the Super Bowl. A receiving corps for quarterback Cam Newton that includes highly touted rookie Devin Funchess is among his reasons for such optimism.
"That's two big bodies for Cam to throw to," Benjamin said. "It's going to be hard for teams to double-guard me this year, also with Philly (Brown) who stepped up for us last year and with Ted (Ginn) back with his speed. It's going to be a lot that people are going to have to handle."
Funchess, a second-round draft choice from Michigan, is looking forward to teaming with Benjamin but isn't looking past the importance of training camp in defining his role.
"Everything is earned in life. Nothing is really given to you," Funchess said. "I'm going to go out there and get it and compete with the other guys along the way."