NFL AM: Is Weight Gain to Blame for Panthers’ Benjamin’s Hamstrings?


Rivera implies weight to blame for Benjamin’s hamstring problems

Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera believes wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin has been putting the “ham” in hamstring this offseason.

Benjamin has missed three days of minicamp due to hamstring issues, and Rivera indicated the reason may be that he is heavier than he was during his rookie season. A source told the Charlotte Observer that the wideout came to minicamp “8-9 pounds overweight.”

“He did come in a little heavy and he had to work himself into shape. Or diet or something,” Rivera said Thursday. “We’re going to take a look at it and make sure it’s not a chronic issue with him. He’s too good a football player to have on the sideline.”

Panthers GM David Gettleman tried to prick a needle into the ballooning rumor.

“It really is much ado about nothing. Right now he’s only five pounds off his playing weight. That’s it.” Gettleman told the Observer. “This is what frustrates me sometimes, people want to create news. There’s no news. He’s a few pounds over, that’s all. He’ll be fine. He’ll stay here in July and he’ll be ready to rock and roll.”

One must resist the temptation to insert a Fat Elvis joke after Gettleman’s “rock and roll” comment. Cam Newton absolutely needs a fully functioning Benjamin if Carolina has any chance of repeating as NFC South champs this year. The good news, as the Panthers GM indicated, is that he has quite a bit of time to get into peak condition.

Bengals release Pryor, who will convert to receiver

The Terelle Pryor era, if such a thing ever existed, appears to be over – at least at the quarterback position. The Bengals released Pryor on Thursday, making them the fourth team to do so since he was selected by the Raiders out of Ohio State in the 2011 supplemental draft.

However, agent Drew Rosenhaus indicated to Pro Football Talk that his client is willing to reinvent himself as a wide receiver to keep his football dream alive. Rosenhaus said that there is (cough) “extensive” interest in Pryor as a wideout.

He certainly has more faith than Pryor himself, who stated last June, “I don’t know how to catch. I’ve been a quarterback my whole life.”

Hopefully Pryor has figured that skill set out within the past year, or his only hope at maintaining a football career will be north of the border.

Dez Bryant shows up to Cowboys minicamp

Wide receiver Dez Bryant made an unexpected visit to Cowboys minicamp on Thursday – and promptly did nothing.

There has been talk of Bryant holding out in regular season games if he does not get a long-term deal from the team. He did not show for the first two days of Dallas’ minicamp, but surprised his teammates with a cameo appearance.

All that consisted of was a game of catch with Cole Beasley, a quick chat with Tony Romo and a video session with the rest of his teammates.

“It’s great to have him here. Dez obviously hasn’t signed his franchise deal yet, so he’s not practicing,” Garrett said. “He’s dropped in really throughout the offseason program. Dez is a special guy. He’s obviously a heck of a football player, obviously very important to our football team. His approach is really well respected by anybody on our team, the guys he goes against. He’s got a great passion for the game, and it’s great to have him here.”

Bryant is due to earn $12.823 million next season under the franchise tag. He wants to sign a long-term deal with the Cowboys, but the window to do so before next year closes on July 15.

About Alex Hickey

Alex Hickey

Alex Hickey can vividly recall most significant NFL events going back to Walter Payton's final game in 1987, including the ones that didn't make him cry. Since 2008, his full-time job has been covering college football, specifically McNeese State, for the Lake Charles (La.) American Press. Free time is spent informing, amusing or annoying you for Football Insiders.