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Carolina Panthers

WR Benjamin happy to be back

CHARLOTTE – Wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin is taking it slow in his return to practice from a hamstring injury but can't wait until he, rookie Devin Funchess and the rest of the offense can really let it fly.

"We have a lot," Benjamin said. "The O-line has strengthened, that's the most important thing, so we can protect Cam (Newton) so he can make his reads and get the ball out there.

"We've got a lot of playmakers around him – from running backs to receivers to tight ends."

Benjamin watched as Funchess started building a rapport with Newton over the first two weeks of organized team activities, then Benjamin re-entered the fray this week.

"I'm feeling good, coming along good," Benjamin said. "We're still taking our time with it, don't want to rush things."

Assistant head coach/secondary coach Steve Wilks already has a feel for the threat that Benjamin and Funchess can pose together.

"Being the secondary coach and seeing everything from the back end, I think those guys are doing well," Wilks said. "Having two 6-5 guys out there, that's going to be a nightmare for any secondary coach. I'm excited about what we have on offense."

Like Benjamin, cornerback Bene Benwikere slowly worked his way back into practice this week coming off a hamstring injury. Both should be at least as involved if not even more so next week when the Panthers wrap up their offseason workout program with a three-day mandatory minicamp that begins Tuesday.

Defensive end Frank Alexander was limited by a groin injury at the final day of OTAs. Cornerback Garry Peters and safety Roman Harper were excused from practice to deal with personal matters.

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