CHARLOTTE – Though it's nothing compared to what's being forecast in Green Bay this weekend, the Panthers got a small taste of cold weather on the practice field in Charlotte on Friday, practicing in temperatures in the low-30s.
"I don't miss it," head coach Ron Rivera said with a laugh. "It was pretty cold today. I thought practice was good. We had a lot of energy in spite of the weather. There are certain elements you can't control, and you just have to go with it."
Rivera was glad his team had an opportunity to practice in cold conditions and has been pleased with how the players have handled challenging weather in the past.
"We have practiced in the rain and cold weather since I've been here. We've handled it pretty well," Rivera said. "It's one of those things – if you let it get into your head it can be a distraction. Thankfully for us, we don't have to worry about that (this weekend)."
INJURY UPDATE: Rivera said the plan for wide receiver Steve Smith (knee), running back Jonathan Stewart (knee) and defensive tackle Colin Cole (calf) is to integrate them in practice on Wednesday.
"They've been getting treatment and things are very positive," Rivera said.
Rivera added that he's comfortable with tight end Ben Hartsock's knee progress and he hopes to have him practice on Wednesday.
ALL-PRO PANTHERS: The Associated Press All-Pro team was announced on Friday and four Panthers were selected.
Center Ryan Kalil, linebacker Luke Kuechly and fullback Mike Tolbert were named to the first team. Defensive end Greg Hardy was named to the second team.
"Very proud of those guys," Rivera said. "I am disappointed for a number of guys though. We had some guys that played very well that deserve recognition as well. Unfortunately, not everyone can be (All-Pro)."
The four All-Pros are the most the Panthers have had since they had six in 1996.
"It's a cool honor, and I always talk about it, you don't get there by yourself," Kuechly said. "It's a representation of the team. That's what you always have to remember."
"It's a tremendous honor," said Kalil, who was a second-team All-Pro in 2011. "But I'd much rather have us win playoff games and get into the big show."
FUTURE SIGNINGS: Carolina has signed eight players to "future" contracts for the 2014 season. The contracts are referred to as "future" contracts because even though the players have signed, they do not officially become members of the roster until the beginning of the new league year - March 11.
|T||Kevin Hughes||2||Southeastern Louisiana|
|T||Oscar Johnson||1||Louisiana Tech|
|LB||D.J. Smith||3||Appalachian State|