SPARTANBURG, S.C. - It may be early in training camp, but Carolina linebacker Chris Draft only wanted to talk about the regular season opener against Atlanta on Sept. 10 - and probably provided bulletin board material for the Panthers' biggest rival.
Asked on Sunday about quarterback Michael Vick's recent comments that he didn't give a complete effort against the Panthers in the final game last season, Draft didn't seem surprised.
"Hopefully that's the coaches talking to him, trying to get him to step up more," said Draft, who spent five seasons with Atlanta before signing with Carolina last year. "One of his big problems is people want to tell him how great he is. Mike is just being Mike. Well, Mike being Mike is just running, being an all-right passer, and Mike gets hit a lot. If they want to let Mike be Mike, we'll take that."
Draft, who still lives in Atlanta, also took a shot at Falcons' fans.
"When I go back, I don't want to hear those people talking, they talk too much," Draft said. "Sometimes they can be mean fans. Last year, all they could say was, 'How come you had to beat them so bad?" That's what we want to hear this year, too."
JENKINS SLOWED: Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Kris Jenkins, working his way back from two knee surgeries in two years, sat out Sunday with pain in his back and hip. But defensive end Mike Rucker expects Jenkins, who has played in only five games in the past two seasons, will be ready for the regular season.
"The guy has to get the cobwebs out," Rucker said. "He's turning and twisting and needs to get the soreness out. If we played this weekend, you might be concerned, but we have plenty of time. That's what training camp is for.
MORE HAZING: On Saturday, Panthers first round pick DeAngelo Williams had to carry DeShaun Foster's and Brad Hoover's shoulder pads and helmets inside after practice. On Sunday, the former Memphis running back was planning to go to the store to buy sunflower seeds for veteran players.
Trouble is, Williams doesn't have a car with him.
"They were saying, 'You can borrow my car' but then they remembered I wasn't on their insurance and stuff, so I couldn't drive their cars.
"Oh well, I need two bags of original seeds."
Williams, who is working his way up the depth chart, wants to return kickoffs.
"That's a quick six right there, that's the first play on offense," Williams said. "Kickoff returns are near and dear to my heart."
QUICK HITS: Kicker John Kasay has yet to boot the ball in camp because of soreness in his kicking leg, so Sunday the team signed MacKenzie Hoambrecker, who played at Northern Iowa and has bounced around NFL training camps. Kasay's injury is not considered serious, but Hoambrecker will allow the team to better practice special teams.... Cornerback Reggie Howard, who missed Saturday's practices due to a death in the family, practiced twice Sunday.... After an unusually mild day Saturday, the temperature soared into the 90s in the afternoon workout. About halfway through practice players were allowed to get water and sit underneath a tent, which was equipped with fans. It's expected to be even hotter Monday, but the team had already planned to have a night practice instead of an afternoon workout.
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