The Carolina Panthers are continuing to tweak their roster and prepare for the upcoming season as the sweltering summer heat sweeps the Charlotte area.
Carolina made some adjustments to its roster early this week, signing undrafted rookie wideouts Michael Avila and Lamont Bryant Monday.
Bryant is a 6-foot-5, 225-pound former tight end out of Morgan State. In 2011, he led the Bears with 21 receptions for 371 yards and two touchdowns. Bryant has elite speed for his size, running the 40-yard dash in an impressive 4.45 seconds.
The much smaller Michael Avila (5-foot-9, 170 pounds) hails from San Jose State, where he caught four passes for 52 yards as a fifth-year senior. Interestingly, Avila is related to head coach Ron Rivera’s brother by marriage.
Receivers Chris Manno and Wes Kemp were released to make room on the Panthers’ 90-man roster.
Minicamp Begins: The Panthers took the field for their first day of minicamp Tuesday. The coaching staff and the players are taking advantage of the practice time that they didn’t have last year because of the lockout.
This is especially important for the incoming rookies. Offensive lineman Amini Silatolu, the team’s second-round draft pick, is having his share of difficulties learning the playbook. Silatolu has quite the adjustment to make coming from Division II Midwestern State to the NFL.
However, veteran tackle Jordan Gross is impressed with his attitude.
“He’s working hard. He’s definitely got a ways to go, and he knows that. He’s aware of that and he’s working through it,” Gross said. “He’s getting a lot of reps, and he’s not complaining about that any. So that’s good to see. He’s definitely a talented guy. That’s why he got drafted as high as he did.”
Middle linebacker Jon Beason was also in the thick of the action Tuesday. He looked strong coming back from an Achilles tear in last year’s season opener.
However, weakside linebacker Thomas Davis, who tore his right ACL for the third time last season, is not being rushed back into action. After riding the stationery bike and doing some leg exercises, Davis left practice early.