SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Cornerback Bene Benwikere, a leading candidate to start this season, will begin training camp on the physically unable to perform list. Benwikere is still recovering from the broken ankle he suffered late last season.
In addition, fellow cornerback Leonard Johnson is being placed on the non-football injury list (Achilles). He suffered the injury last season with the Patriots but did not undergo surgery until after his release.
"We decided that's the best way to go with both guys," general manager Dave Gettleman said. "They are both talented, and we just wanted to do the right thing. After talking with (head athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion) and the docs, we thought this was the best way to go."
Both players count against the 90-man roster limit, and both can be activated at any time.
Benwikere was a limited participant during OTAs and minicamp, but is not quite ready to push it further. Johnson was signed July 14, after OTAs and minicamp were complete.
"The thing about him starting on PUP is that it gives him an opportunity to continue his rehab," head coach Ron Rivera said. "Everybody needs to understand that what he did was very traumatic to that ankle, and it takes a matter of time. Rather than exposing him to the work out there, we're going to continue to expose him to the rehab program and make sure he's 100 percent before we throw him out there."
"Short term, the young kids are going to get the reps," Gettleman said. "We really focus on making sure they get reps. Even if Bene was active, they were going to get their reps. The situation is going to be good for them."
"But again, we're going to bring guys accordingly along," Rivera explained. "We're not just going to throw guys out there just because they've been given the all-go that haven't been out on the field and have them go from 25 miles per hour to 100 miles per hour. We're going to be very judicious with the young men who did not participate in OTAs and the minicamp."
View photos of the players as they report to training camp in Spartanburg, S.C.