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Carolina Panthers

Panthers, Titans play nice in first joint practice


NASHVILLE - Because joint practices tend to produce at least one instance of boys behaving badly, the potential for fisticuffs hovers over days like Wednesday.

But much like the Panthers' joint sessions with the Dolphins ahead of the 2015 season, Carolina's first practice in Tennessee was fight-free.

"One thing we wanted to make sure we all understood is we came here to work against each other and get good, quality work in – and not anything beyond the whistle," head coach Ron Rivera said. 

"I appreciate the fact that Coach (Mike) Mularkey and his guys came out with that understanding."

Two years ago, the most noteworthy scuffle involved an exchange of punches between left tackle Michael Oher and Dolphins defensive end Olivier Vernon. On Wednesday, the biggest boiling point was a brief shoving match between guard Andrew Norwell and Titans nose tackle Antwaun Woods.

"It got a little testy and that's always gonna happen," center Ryan Kalil said, "but I think both head coaches did a good job making sure we stayed competitive. We work hard, but we take care of each other and play football."

Temperatures for Thursday's second joint session and Saturday's preseason game are expected to hit 90 degrees again, so this week may not be completely Kumbaya. But for Wednesday at least, players did their best to make sure tensions never boiled over.

"I think the biggest thing in this league is you've got to have respect for guys' careers, you've got to have respect for what they're trying to accomplish," tight end Greg Olsen said.

"Between the snap of the ball and when the play ended, it seemed pretty intense. But I don't think anybody wants their receivers or ball carriers being hit or taken out by the legs. I think that's the way a professional practice is supposed to be."

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