Most impressive play I saw at Carolina's first practice Friday night was veteran free-agent Ted Ginn Jr. return a kick. True, players weren't hitting. But Ginn grabbed the ball, paused a moment to assess the field, found a seam and committed. The speed with which he reached the opening was mesmerizing. The man can move.
Other highlights: Cam Newton hit Greg Olsen over the middle for a touchdown.
Jimmy Clausen went deep down the left sideline to Brenton Bersin, who dove to grab the touchdown pass. Fans responded warmly. Bersin, who is from Charlotte, is a Wofford graduate.
When former star rookies collide: Middle linebacker Luke Kuechly picked off Newton.
Armanti Edwards grabbed two passes. The beauty of writing Armanti's name is that some fans see it and think, "He's only decent during practice so stop encouraging him." Others see it and think, "The Panthers finally are using him properly and pending stardom awaits."
The teams practiced 12 minutes short of two hours. Many fans stuck around after the players stretched to try to grab autographs. When Newton moved from one section of the bleachers to another to sign, fans responded as if they'd won something.
Friday was a show for fans, and should have been.
Work begins Saturday.