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Panthers hoping to beat heat during OTAs


CHARLOTTE -- At 8 a.m. on a gorgeous Monday morning in Charlotte, the Panthers began Phase Three of offseason workouts – aka OTAs – inside Bank of America Stadium. Specifically, inside the team meeting room.

"Moving forward there are two options for commitment," said head coach Ron Rivera, parroting the opening slide of his four-minute talk. "You're either all-in, or you're all out."

Now in his seventh season as the head guy, Rivera could probably recite these kinds of speeches in his sleep. But this year's slides did reveal a new wrinkle.

To beat the late spring/early summer heat, Rivera's tinkered with the practice schedule for the next three weeks. Starting Tuesday, players will be on and off the field earlier than they've ever been in the Rivera era, finishing well before noon.

As a reminder, live contact is still a no-no during Phase Three, but teams can run through 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills. After 10 of those sessions, which are technically voluntary, a mandatory three-day minicamp kicks off June 13.

But Monday, the Panthers spent the day like most of us will. Despite the sun and mild temperatures outside, players and coaches were scheduled to go from one meeting to the next inside the building.

"The best team has a great sense of family," Rivera said over his final slide. "The best family has a great culture. And within that culture is tremendous character."

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