Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera isn’t sugarcoating his concern about star receiver Kelvin Benjamin showing up to offseason workouts overweight.
Benjamin, who has had weight issues since his college playing days at Florida State, has some work to do in order to get into shape for next season. While Rivera shot down a rumor that his former first-round receiver was up around 280 pounds, he did confirm Benjamin is well above where he should be.
“He is a little heavy. He knows it. We’ve talked about it. We talked about what he has to do, and he’s done a great job,” Rivera said Saturday, per Joe Person of The Charlotte Observer.
“Am I concerned? Yes, because he is heavy. I’m going to admit that right now,” Rivera added. “But is he working hard? Absolutely. He’s been there everyday and done the things we’ve asked him to do, and it’s all strictly on a voluntary basis.”
Person also noted the Panthers still have yet to pick up Benjamin’s fifth-year option, which would pay him nearly $8.5 million. The deadline to pick it up is Wednesday.
When healthy and fit, Benjamin is an effective weapon in Carolina’s offense. He has played in two full seasons since being selected No. 28 overall in the 2014 NFL Draft. In those two seasons, he caught 136 passes for 1,949 yards and 16 touchdowns. He missed the entire 2015 season with a torn ACL and got off to a slow start last year in his return.
Needless to say, fifth-year option or not, the 2017 season is a critical one for Benjamin.