CHARLOTTE – Several Panthers have indicated that this offseason program has been the most competitive one they've ever been a part of.
On the second day of minicamp, the competiveness boiled over, and skirmishes broke out on two separate occasions.
"I think the heat got the best of us," head coach Ron Rivera said after his team practiced in nearly 100-degree heat for the second consecutive day. "We want to practice a certain way, but I guess a couple guys bumped heads. That's unfortunate. Anytime something like that happens you just don't like to see it.
"I talked to the guys privately and made sure they understood how I felt about it."
Guard Amini Silatolu and linebacker Jason Trusnik were the first ones involved in a scrum. Offensive tackle Michael Oher and defensive end Kony Ealy clashed moments later.
"It's hot out here, and we're all trying to get better," Trusnik said. "Scuffles, things like that, happen every now and then. But at the end of the day, we're here for one reason, and that's to win a championship and do something great as a team. We've got to take care of each other as teammates - offense and defense."
BENJAMIN SIDELINED: Wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin continues to suffer from hamstring soreness. This time, his right leg is causing the problem. He did not practice Wednesday and will not practice Thursday when the Panthers wrap up minicamp.
"We are going to evaluate him and have (the trainers) take a real good look," Rivera said. "We are going to look at history – look and see if he had any issues at Florida State. It could be as simple as weight – he did come in a little heavy and he had to work himself into shape. It could be hydration or diet. We are going to look at every avenue and make sure it's not a chronic issue with him.
"He's too good a football player to have on the sideline. He gets it and he understands. He's very important to what we want to do."
The second-year wide receiver fully expects to be ready for training camp.
"I want to get out there so bad and be with the guys," Benjamin said, "but I just have to be patient."
D-END DELIBERATION: Rivera made it clear he's hoping a defensive end emerges as the full-time starter opposite Charles Johnson.
"We want one guy to take the position and make it his own and just rotate everybody else," Rivera said. "We don't have that (one guy) right now, so for now it's by committee."
The committee includes Frank Alexander, Wes Horton, Mario Addison and Ealy.
Alexander was performing well during organized team activities, but he and Johnson have not practiced during minicamp due to groin injuries. That's given Horton, Addison and Ealy increased reps, but no one has yet to grab hold of that top spot.
Fortunately for the Panthers, it's early, and no one has had the chance to practice in full pads. When that happens in training camp, Rivera will have a better picture of the situation.
"Out here (during OTAs and minicamp) we are not hitting, we're not finishing," Rivera said. "We want to see who is going to finish and who is going to be the finisher."
ROSTER MOVE: The Panthers signed guard Ricky Henry and waived center Ronald Patrick.
Henry (6-4, 310 pounds) was waived by the Kansas City Chiefs last season after spending the 2014 season on their practice squad and 2013 on injured reserve. A first-team All-Big 12 Conference selection at Nebraska as a senior, he was signed as an undrafted rookie by the Chicago Bears in 2011. Henry played one game for the Bears as a rookie and one game for the New Orleans Saints in 2012.
Patrick, a second-year pro from South Carolina, had signed with the Panthers on May 11 after attending their rookie minicamp as an invited tryout.