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July 21, 2014

Jameis Winston: Benjamin blessed to play with Newton

399-F89NJ.St.55GREENSBORO Even though Kelvin Benjamin has a new quarterback, he still chats plenty with his old quarterback.

At ACC Football Kickoff this weekend, Florida State quarterback and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston said he and Benjamin still keep in contact regularly.

And each time they talk, Winston tells him the same thing.

“I tell K.B. every time I talk to him it’s a blessing he got the opportunity to play with Cam (Newton),” Winston said Sunday. “As I was coming up I always loved Cam’s game. I feel like we have some similar qualities—obviously he’s better. But K.B. going from me to Cam, that’s amazing.

“I think he’s really going to help Cam out and I know Cam’s always going to have an influence on his players. They’re going to have probably one of the most dynamic combinations in the NFL.”

Benjamin hauled in 54 passes for 1,011 yards and an ACC-high 15 touchdowns in 2013, including the game-winning touchdown in the national title game against Auburn.

The Panthers selected the 6-foot-5, 240-pound Benjamin with the 28th overall pick in the draft with hopes that his big-play abilities in the red zone will transfer from college to the NFL.

And while his college quarterback will closely watch Benjamin in the NFL, Winston isn’t exactly rooting for the entire Panthers team.

“I was blessed to have an opportunity to play with Kelvin,” Winston said. “And no, I'm still not a Panthers fan, but I am a Cam Newton and K.B. fan. I am an Eagles fan, to answer that.”

--Jonathan Jones

Posted by Observer Sports on July 21, 2014 at 11:34 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

"Riverboat" Ron Rivera joins Twitter

Just as Ron Rivera was slow to embrace his "Riverboat Ron" nickname, it took the Carolina Panthers' coach some time to come around to Twitter.

But Rivera jumped into the Twitter world over the weekend as @RiverboatRonHC.

We're told the account is Rivera's, and should be verified soon.

Rivera joins his wife, Stephanie (@CoachRiv2), who is active on Twitter. Stephanie Rivera tweeted pictures from the couple's European vacation this month.

It will be interesting to see how often Rivera uses his Twitter account, and what the tone of his posts are. Sean Payton and Pete Carroll are among the NFL coaches who tweet regularly.

Rivera's first two tweets were links to ESPN's piece on Cam Newton's day with Make-A-Wish child George Gring during OTAs.

Rivera's Riverboat is filling up fast on Twitter. He went from 70 followers to more than 2,300 in about an hour Monday morning.

--Joseph Person

Posted by Observer Sports on July 21, 2014 at 11:31 AM | Permalink | Comments (8)

July 16, 2014

Panthers partner with Time Warner on local programming deal

The Panthers are pumping up their local TV presence, partnering with Time Warner Cable SportsChannel on a multi-year programming agreement, the team announced Wednesday.

Beginning next week with the premiere of "Panthers Camp Confidential," the Panthers will produce more than 250 hours of annual programming that will be broadcast throughout the Carolinas on TWC SportsChannel.

TWC SportsChannel becomes the Panthers' exclusive local cable home, and will air each of the team's preseason games. WCCB in Charlotte also will simulcast the preseason games.

TWC SportsChannel is only available to Time Warner subscribers.

The Panthers said the agreement is one of the largest ever developed by an NFL team with a regional channel. Financial terms were not disclosed.

In addition to the preseason games, TWC SportsChannel will televise a live post-game show and nightly Panthers programs, including one hosted by longtime offensive lineman Jordan Gross.

Gross, who retired in February, also will serve as the sideline reporter on the team's radio broadcasts.

--Joseph Person

Posted by Observer Sports on July 16, 2014 at 01:47 PM | Permalink | Comments (13)

July 03, 2014

Luke Kuechly named No. 15 on NFL's Top 100 list

Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly comes in at No. 15 on NFL.com's top 100 players list this year, moving up from No. 79 last year.

Posted by Observer staff on July 3, 2014 at 09:57 AM | Permalink | Comments (18)