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Panthers Ron Rivera: Kelvin Benjamin in 'tremendous shape'

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Rivera: It's been a series of ups and downs

Panthers head coach Ron Rivera discusses the difficult times he and his family are facing due to his brothers passing that will cause him to miss team practices through the weekend.

SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- Observations and notes from Thursday as the Carolina Panthers reported to training camp at Wofford College:

  • After saying Kelvin Benjamin being overweight might have contributed to hamstring injuries that kept the 6-foot-5 wide receiver from participating in most of the offseason workouts, coach Ron Rivera said Benjamin was among the players to report in the best shape. He actually used the phrase "tremendous shape." For the record, Benjamin looked like he was in great shape.

  • The newest fad to help players save steps on their legs is called a Space Chariot. It’s basically a Segway -- last year’s fad -- without handlebars. Defensive end Mario Addison was among the players who showed up with one. This player, which I couldn’t identify from a distance, had pretty good control over a device that didn’t look particularly safe.

  • It’s pretty obvious the Panthers believe they have made a significant upgrade at wide receiver from a year ago. Tight end Greg Olsen referred to a "little" rebuilding job last season when talking about how much they had improved, then smiled when I suggested "big" might have been more appropriate.

  • If you weren’t aware that Lowe’s is a new sponsor of Carolina’s camp, you were after general manager Dave Gettleman began and closed his news conference talking about the flowers planted near the practice fields. "Have you been down there to check it out," Gettleman said. "It’s really beautiful down there. It’s really going to add to the ambience of training camp."

  • Tight end Brandon Williams (groin) and wide receiver De'Andre Presley (shin) will open camp on the physically unable to perform list. Otherwise, everyone passed their physical and is ready to go.