Benjamin named offensive rookie of month

CHARLOTTE – Wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin has been named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month for September.

Head coach Ron Rivera told Benjamin and his teammates about the honor prior to Thursday's practice.

"It's good, but that's not really my goal. My main focus is helping the team any possible way I can," Benjamin said. "I've got to keep working. There are a lot of things I've got to work on. I haven't even scratched the surface of my game yet."

Benjamin, a first-round draft choice from Florida State, leads NFL rookies with 329 receiving yards and ranks second with 21 catches. He has topped 75 receiving yards in three of his first four career games and is the only NFL rookie in the last decade to catch a touchdown pass covering 25 or more yards in three of his first four games.

"When he got here and starting going the way he did at training camp, you could tell it was not too big for him," head coach Ron Rivera said. "The success he's had is a tribute to him and a tribute to the coaching. What (wide receivers coach) Ricky (Proehl) has done with him has been tremendous, as is as what (offensive coordinator) Mike (Shula) and the staff have engineered with game plans that involve him.

"He's by no means where we want him to be, but he's outdone the expectations."

Quarterback Cam Newton in 2011 and quarterback Matt Moore in 2007 are the other Panthers to win Offensive Rookie of the Month. Linebacker Luke Kuechly in 2012 and defensive end Julius Peppers in 2002 are past recipients on the defensive side of the ball.

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