CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - With potential new Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper awaiting his confirmation in Atlanta Tuesday, the team took the practice field for the first day of Organized Team Activities.
There were a lot of new faces on the field, most notably offensive coordinator Norv Turner. But, there was no amount of new players or coaches that could take the spotlight away from what could be one of the most important days in Panther history.
"I know for a lot of people, I'm sure they're just ready for some closure and for that transition to start," Panthers Tight End Greg Olsen said after practice. "I just think to put all this to rest, to move forward in the new direction that the team is going with."
Tepper could be confirmed as the new Panthers' owner at the NFL's spring owner's meetings as soon as today. Head Coach Ron Rivera hasn't formally met with Tepper, but has spoken with him multiple times, including when he gave a presentation to Tepper during his visit to Bank of America Stadium as a potential bidder earlier this year.
"He's got a sense and a feel for football... Eventually, I know we'll sit down and talk some football and we'll talk about this team," Rivera said.
Outside of the normal cast of players and coaches, former Cowboys Quarterback and NFL Hall of Famer Troy Aikman joined the Panthers for their two-hour session. Turner was Aikman's offensive coordinator in Dallas from 1991-1993, where the Cowboys won Super Bowl XXVII.
"It's good to have a guy like that around here," Rivera said. "An opportunity for our players to see a hall of famer... It's kind of nice to see some of those guys go up to him and ask him what it takes to be a champion in this league."
Quarterback Cam Newton threw the ball to teammates in offensive and team drills on Tuesday morning, something he was not able to do last year at this time because of shoulder surgery. In terms of injuries, running back Kenjon Barner worked on the side today. Coach Rivera says he's just getting back into shape. Other than that, there were no real personnel surprises.
The Panthers return to the practice field tomorrow for day two of the third phase of this year's OTAs.