For the most part the Carolina Panthers are a healthy bunch and that is good news for head coach Ron Rivera, but during Saturday’s practice at Wofford College in Spartanburg, Edmund Kugbila injured his hamstring in drills. Right now it is not much of a concern as Rivera said he may have just overextended himself.
It is not known if the injury to the 6-foot-4, 325-pound first year guard out of Valdosta State was caused by the lack of activity in the spring due to missing most of the OTAs and mini-camp with a left knee injury, but the team will treat him and go day-to-day before letting him back on the field.
“For the most part we’re very excited with what we have,” Rivera said. “We had a lot of guys make it through practice and that’s always a big plus. We really like what we’re getting from our guys in terms of tempo and energy; we actually knocked off a few extra minutes in practice today. Their tempo was good yesterday; they did the same thing so I’m pretty pleased with their effort and attitude.”
In other news, the Panthers were able to steer clear of any off-season issues like the arrests of the Patriots’ Aaron Hernandez on suspicion of murder and Alfonzo Dennard on suspicion of DUI after being convicted on a felony assault on a police officer, or the Browns’ Ausar Walcott on an attempted murder charge, but that doesn’t mean it will be business as usual when it comes to checking out a player they want to bring into their organization.
According to a report in the Charlotte Observer on Saturday, the Panthers and the NFL will delve deeper into backgrounds by getting more personal in their investigations. The Washington Post said roughly 2-3 percent of all NFL players get arrested per year and while that may seem somewhat trivial, the league and select teams are battling image problems as the arrests are growing, not just in numbers but the severity of the alleged crimes.
In recent years there have been convictions ranging from DUI manslaughter to conspiracy to commit murder to attempted criminal possession of a weapon to conspiracy related to dog fighting and almost everything between. Hernandez is just the latest to have apparently slipped through the current system.
The NFL is exploring ways to delve deeper into family, friends and even looking at the kind of tattoos players have in order to evaluate players better. However, as much as they try, it is an imperfect system and there are sure to be some, like Hernandez, that will get through.