CHARLOTTE – There are a couple minor injury updates before we get into Wednesday's practice observations.
There was a brief scare when wide receiver Devin Funchess went down injured away from the ball during a team period late in the session. But head coach Ron Rivera said it was simply a rolled ankle that ended his day prematurely. As you can see, quarterback Cam Newton was among those who checked in on Funchess before he left the practice field.
Linebacker Luke Kuechly has participated in everything but team drills during the first two OTA practices. He's been dealing with some lower back tightness and has been held out of the team portion as a precaution.
With that, here's a recap of the day's action: Charlotte Hornets head coach Steve Clifford attended the practice session with three of his players – Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Cody Zeller and Johnny O'Bryant.
Both Rivera and general manager Dave Gettleman spent time chatting with Clifford on the sideline. Newton, quarterback Derek Anderson and linebacker Thomas Davis were among the Panthers to greet the tall group of visitors after practice. As he walked off the field, offensive coordinator Mike Shula jokingly said, "I want to see them catch!"
- The trio of second-year corners – James Bradberry, Daryl Worley and Zack Sanchez – were very active. Bradberry launched himself into the air to break up a pass for Funchess, and Sanchez flashed his ball skills with a similarly athletic break up on a pass for Damiere Byrd. Worley spent a lot of time matched up with wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, and it was a competitive bout between the two throughout the session.
- Speaking of Benjamin, it was a near-miss that earned him the most praise from coaches and teammates. Benjamin performed a full-extension dive in an attempt to reel in an overthrown pass against the sideline. The ball came loose as his body struck the ground, but several people, including Rivera, rushed over to applaud the impressive effort.
- Tight end Scott Simonson had himself a productive day, hauling in several catches in traffic over the middle. Newton was impressed and made sure the defense knew it.
- Tight end Ed Dickson frustrated the defense when he got free for a big gain down the sideline.
- An end-around to Byrd didn't result in a big gain, but it did earn him some bragging rights. The speedy wideout juked away from Mario Addison, and the defensive end slipped to the ground. The offensive sideline was entertained.
- Assistant defensive backs/safeties coach Richard Rodgers was extremely excited about an alert play from safety Mike Adams. The veteran newcomer perfectly plastered to Funchess during a scramble situation to help force an incompletion.
- Rookie wide receiver Curtis Samuel was again absent for personal reasons. Defensive end Ryan Delaire was not in attendance after working on the side Tuesday.
View photos from the first week of Carolina's organized team activities.