This is the time of the year NFL coaches get to start to see their players again after the offseason as organized team activities are starting to take place in early preparation for the 2017 season.
According to the Charlotte Observer and multiple other media outlets, Carolina Panthers' star wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin showed up to the first phase of the offseason program vastly overweight. One broadcast report said Benjamin was up to 280 pounds, but Panthers' head coach Ron Rivera dismissed it was that high, but admitted the former Florida State star has to drop a few pounds.
"He is a little heavy," Rivera told the Charlotte Observer. "He knows it. We've talked about it. We've 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."
Kelvin Benjamin had weight problems throughout his career. This is him at Florida State pic.twitter.com/NFGlPPawoc
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) April 30, 2017
Even though Rivera discounted the notion Benjamin weighed in at 280 pounds, it's clear the Carolina coaching staff is concerned about the lingering issue. Most reports say the Panthers want Benjamin's playing weight to hover around 240 pounds, but as the Charlotte Observer report notes, he's played as high as 253.
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Either way, this isn't anything new which adds a deeper level of worry for anyone close to the Carolina Panthers. Benjamin was redshirted at Florida State after showing up overweight as a freshman and has battled weight issues ever since.
Why does this matter so much? Benjamin has a suffered numerous hamstring hindrances in the past and most believe they were a direct result of him being overweight. I really believe the Panthers' pass catcher is capable of being one of the top receivers in the league but things like this clearly don't help his cause. It'll be interesting to see how hard he works between now and the start of the season.