NFL Notebook: Competitive Jadeveon Clowney, Raheem Blackshear Scuffle During Day 2 Of Carolina Panthers’ Mandatory Minicamp

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carolina Panthers coach Dave Canales lauded the competitive nature of outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney and running back Raheem Blackshear.

Even if the combatants’ weight classes were a bit off.

Clowney, at 6-foot-5, 266 pounds, engaged with the 5-9, 190-pound Blackshear during team drills Wednesday. They intensely disputed a play in the end zone during Day 2 of the mandatory minicamp at the practice field behind Bank of America Stadium.

“Another great day,” Canales said, opening his Wednesday press conference. “The competition is what we want to see. We want to see the energy. It was a lively deal.

“We pushed it to the edge, guys were getting really chippy. Just kinda asked them, play at that edge, let’s not step over, let’s protect our team, let’s be great teammates first. And the guys handled it and responded well.”

The Panthers enter summer break following Thursday’s closed practice and meetings.

Possibly the Panthers’ top off-season addition, Clowney, a three-time Pro Bowler, elected to skip the team’s recent organized team activities (OTAs), but appeared active and vocal throughout Monday and Tuesday’s open workouts.

Diontae Johnson Seeks Panthers Extension

Analyzing the new wide receiver market, Diontae Johnson, who is developing chemistry with quarterback Bryce Young, awaits his payday.

Entering the final season of his contract, Johnson reacted to Justin Jefferson’s four-year, $140 million mega-deal with the Minnesota Vikings and A.J. Brown’s three-year, $96 million extension with the Philadelphia Eagles, among the eight receivers who signed new deals this offseason. The trend started two years ago when the Miami Dolphins inked Tyreek Hill to a four-year, $120 million contract.

Johnson said Tuesday he’s targeting a long-term deal with the Panthers, who traded for the precise route-runner on March 12 to provide Young with a proven target.

“It’s crazy,” Johnson said of the deals his peers recently signed. “Everybody getting all these big contracts, it just motivates me to keep working. God gonna give it to me when he ready, so I just gotta keep stacking days and not really worry about … keep pressing.”

The 27-year-old wide receiver compiled 51 catches, 717 yards and five touchdowns for the Pittsburgh Steelers last season.

Miles Sanders Looks To Rebound

Looking to leave a miserable 2023 season behind, running back Miles Sanders lined up behind starter Chuba Hubbard during the opening phases of offseason training. Last year at this time, Sanders, flush with a four-year, $25.4 million deal, appeared set to serve as the team’s primary back.

He didn’t hold the position for long, finishing with career lows with five starts, 129 rushing attempts and 432 yards.

Sanders said Tuesday he didn’t dwell on the down campaign for long.

“Yeah, not too long, probably about five seconds,” he said. “The past is the past.”

With Hubbard back and second-round draft pick Jonathon Brooks recovering from a knee injury but looks primed to forge a rotational role after returning sometime during training camp, Sanders said he has embraced the chemistry of the running back room and will continue to embrace the competition.

“Looking at the new scheme, we’re gonna run the ball, we going to run the ball, we gonna run the ball, we gonna run the ball. And we’re gonna create a lot of opportunities for the guys that we have to get the ball in their hands,” Sanders said. “We had chemistry since I got in here last year starting with Chuba and Raheem,” Sanders said. “And now we got Jonathon, we got a couple of other new guys. The guys are great. We all get along very well. We compete real good. And the chemistry in there, we all help each other to learn to the playbook.”

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