Independent TribuneCarolina Panthers Beason’s agent hopeful contract talks will heat up

Beason’s agent hopeful contract talks will heat up

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The agent for Carolina Panthers’ rookie Jon Beason said Saturday he was hopeful there would be a breakthrough soon in contract negotiations.

Beason, a linebacker from Miami, officially became a holdout when he missed Saturday’s opening workout of training camp. But a day after general manager Marty Hurney said they were “miles apart,” Michael Huyghue indicated other first-round signings across the league could jump-start talks.


By MIKE CRANSTON

AP Sports Writer

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) – The agent for Carolina Panthers’ rookie Jon Beason said Saturday he was hopeful there would be a breakthrough soon in contract negotiations.

Beason, a linebacker from Miami, officially became a holdout when he missed Saturday’s opening workout of training camp. But a day after general manager Marty Hurney said they were “miles apart,” Michael Huyghue indicated other first-round signings across the league could jump-start talks.

“A lot of times as more deals come in, it takes some of the uncertainty out of what you’re looking for,” Huyghue said. “It helps sometimes to move the conversation forward, so I’m hopeful that that will be the effect.”

The players above and below Beason, the 25th pick, have come to terms. Beason is the lowest first-round pick still unsigned.

Beason was expected to challenge incumbent starter Na’il Diggs at outside linebacker. Beason would also provide insurance at middle linebacker as Dan Morgan tries to come back from multiple concussions.

Morgan, who met Beason a couple of years ago during offseason workouts in Miami, said he talked with him Friday.

“I told him to get up here so he can carry some helmets,” said Morgan, referring to the tradition that rookies carry the veterans’ gear.

Coach John Fox was in a much less jovial mood about Beason, who is only the second holdout in Fox’s six years on the job.

“I’m not into talking about guys who aren’t here,” Fox said.


BRIDGES PRACTICES: Jeremy Bridges’ legal trouble and pending suspension didn’t affect his standing on the depth chart at the Panthers’ first practice Saturday.

Bridges, who is facing a misdemeanor assault charge, worked with the first team at right guard, a day after the Panthers announced his suspension for the first two regular season games.

Bridges, who started at right tackle last season, is accused of pointing a gun at a woman in the parking lot of a strip club. He declined to speak to reporters Saturday, but receiver Steve Smith said he addressed the team.

“He’s a guy who came in here and said, ‘Hey guys, I screwed up,’” Smith said. “He’s going to have to deal with the civil or the court issues and with all that stuff going on, why add fuel to the fire? Why kick a man while he’s down?”

Smith also acknowledged it would be difficult to lecture Bridges five years after he was suspended for a game after punching a teammate in a film session.

“I mean, for me,” Smith explained, “it’s the pot calling the kettle black,”


POSITIONING: Linebacker Dan Morgan and defensive end Mike Rucker worked on a limited basis on the first day of camp.

Morgan, trying to return from multiple concussions, was held out of contact drills and replaced by Adam Seward. Rucker, recovering from knee surgery, spent most of the practice on the sidelines, with Stanley McClover filling in on the first team.

But Travelle Wharton was at full speed at left tackle, his first time on the field since he tore two knee ligaments in last year’s season opener.

Rucker and Wharton both sat out the evening workout, part of a plan to bring them back slowly.

There were few surprises from the early depth chart. Nate Salley worked at safety next to veteran Mike Minter. Justin Hartwig was the starting center and Drew Carter took most of the first-team snaps at receiver ahead of rookie Dwayne Jarrett.


QUICK HITS: Defensive tackle Kris Jenkins appeared slimmed down from May’s minicamp, when it was estimated he weighed more than 380 pounds. “Kris looked good,” Fox said. “He looks to be in good football shape. We’ve still got to get in pad shape yet, but he looked in good shape.” … Players got a break in Saturday’s morning workout, as a steady rain kept the temperature in the 70s. … Carolina’s home games against Dallas and Indianapolis sold out on the first day of public ticket sales Saturday. Only single seats remain for the Panthers’ six other home games.


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