CHARLOTTE -- The Panthers have named their six captains for the 2018 season, with three on offense, two on defense and one for special teams.
Quarterback Cam Newton, center Ryan Kalil and tight end Greg Olsen are once again captains on the offensive side. This will be Newton and Kalil's sixth time wearing the "C". It's the fifth time for Olsen.
Linebacker Luke Kuechly and defensive end Julius Peppers are captains on the defensive side. This will be Kuechly's sixth year as a captain. It'll be the fourth for Peppers with Carolina, although he also became a captain midway through the 2017 season.
Last but not least is safety Colin Jones, who has been honored as the special teams leader. Jones has never been named captain before. The Panthers last had a special teams captain in 2012 with linebacker Jordan Senn.
"I knew we were going to emphasize having a special teams captain," Jones said. "Really honored to be named. It means a lot to me."
Head coach Ron Rivera is making a concerted effort to value special teams in 2018, saying he doesn't want it to be "lip service." In addition to Jones serving as a captain, Rivera said the Panthers will introduce the special teams every third home game.
"If we're going to talk about how important (special teams) are, then we are going to treat it like it's special," Rivera said. "We're making sure everybody realizes it and recognizes it."