CHARLOTTE — The offseason has been a busy one for the Panthers already, and they're closing in on another important milestone.
Two weeks from today (April 18), the team will open the offseason program, putting players back in Bank of America Stadium to work out.
With COVID-19 restrictions lifted, the Panthers will be able to work as a larger group than in the past two offseasons. In 2020 and 2021, there were limits, including the number of players at a time in the weight room.
Panthers head coach Matt Rhule said last week at the league meetings that he looked forward to moving into the next phase.
"I'm anxious to have a true offseason," Rhule said. "I'm anxious to get that work done, and anxious to have the guys all be in the weight room together, not 10 guys at a time. I look forward to a true offseason, hoping our team can spend a lot of time together.
"I think that's a really important part of this that got lost the last few years, to be honest with you."
The offseason program is voluntary for players, and is broken into three phases.
In the first phase, which lasts two weeks, activities are limited to meetings, strength and conditioning, and physical rehabilitation only.
The second phase, which covers the next three weeks, includes some on-field workouts. That can include individual and group instruction and drills, but not offense vs. defense.
The third phase, which covers the final four weeks of the program, includes 10 days of OTAs (organized team activities). There can't be any live contact, but teams can do 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills.
That phase also includes the mandatory minicamp, which the Panthers will hold June 14-16.