By Nick Shook
Read full post on NFL.com
The Panthers are entering 2017 with their focus trained on a bounce-back season to remember, but one Panther has apparently allowed his weight to bounce up on the scale.
Kelvin Benjamin showed up for Carolina’s offseason program overweight, according to head coach Ron Rivera.
“He is a little heavy,” Rivera said of Benjamin, via the Charlotte Observer. “He knows it. We’ve talked about it. We talked about what he has to do, and he’s done a great job.”
“Am I concerned? Yes, because he is heavy. I’m going to admit that right now,” Rivera added. “But is he working hard? Absolutely. He’s been there every day and done the things we’ve asked him to do, and it’s all strictly on a voluntary basis.”
Benjamin, listed at 6-foot-5, 245 pounds, has a documented history of struggles with weight going back to his freshman season at Florida State. His weight is also part of what makes him the physical weapon he is, capable of absorbing contact while leaping for passes. It has to stay within reason, though, before it starts to bog him down.
Keeping his weight near a realistic target number is also important for Benjamin’s health. The wideout had hamstring issues during the offseason prior to the 2015 season (which Rivera wondered if they were caused by weight problems) and suffered a torn ACL in non-contact action during training camp prior to that season. Point being, in order for Benjamin to be at his best, he needs healthy legs, and extra pounds won’t help that cause.
Luckily for Benjamin, offseason programs typically include workouts, conditioning and activities of that nature. Though he can’t possibly be a stranger to working out, perhaps a little organizational direction (and maybe a personal chef) can help the receiver get in better shape ahead of 2017.