OTA Notebook: Panthers' attendance still high

Sir Purr

Well-known member
Mar 16, 2019

CHARLOTTE — With many NFL teams, OTAs look a lot like rookie minicamps.

With the Panthers, it's been nearly all hands on deck for the first two weeks of the organized team activities, with the vast majority of the roster in person for the first two weeks of the voluntary work.

It is, of course, voluntary. But other than wide receiver Robby Anderson, every other player on the roster has shown up at least part of the time. Some players have been in and out, missing for particular reasons, but the attendance has been solid and appreciated by a coaching staff that never got to work with guys in person last offseason.

That kind of attendance isn't common around the league. Many veterans, at the behest of the NFLPA, are staying away from team facilities this spring. For instance, the player count is in the 40s for the Buccaneers, not including quarterback Tom Brady. It's less of an issue there since they have practically the entire roster back from the Super Bowl championship team, and did get that extra month of practice called January. In other places, such as Seattle, the count is under 40.

Panthers wideout DJ Moore, who serves as an alternate team representative to the union, said there were "multiple discussions" about the topic among players, but the consensus was the benefits outweighed the risks, and "nobody was ever against it, not going in."

"Because we're one of the youngest teams in the league," Moore explained. "I was talking to some of the other leaders, the older players on the team, they were like since we're so young, we might as well go ahead and go in and get it down and get it done with the rest of the team; not be separated all through the country.

"We've got people that's out, but they're still in constant communication with us, so it's all good. We're just happy to be here."

That tone has been set by other veterans. Defensive end Brian Burns recalled early conversations with linebacker Shaq Thompson, who wanted as many of the new parts on defense available, so that they could build on last year's momentum.

"As a defense, I know Shaq came to me, and he was like 'We're all trying to get to OTAs and get to know each other and get through the teaching stage,'" Burns said. "I was all for it.

"I like being around the guys and being in the building, so it didn't bother me at all."