Jon Beason gets back to work

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — While the rest of Charlotte was hitting the lakes, the links or avoiding DNC road blocks over Labor Day weekend, two of the Panthers' Pro Bowl players were going back to work.

Beason after missing all four exhibition games for the second year in a row. Beason sat out the preseason last year dealing with Achilles tendinitis only to rupture the Achilles in the regular-season opener at Arizona.

Beason underwent season-ending surgery the following week on his left Achilles. He participated in the first 12 days of training camp before tweaking his hamstring in the same leg.

Beason split reps Sunday with Jason Phillips, who filled in for him during the exhibition schedule.

"I feel great. I haven't tested the hamstring at top-end speed, but I don't feel it at all," Beason said. "If I could put a number on it, I guess I'd say about 85 percent. But as we get closer here, there will be times at practice where I really get to open up and see how it feels."

Rivera said he is not worried about Beason getting injured in Week 1, as he did a year ago.

"I think this offseason's been a little different. He went through OTAs and minicamp in a limited capacity. Then he came back and did a little more," Rivera said. "I was excited in what we saw the first couple weeks until he tweaked that hamstring. He's been on the road back. I'm not very apprehensive."

Beason is a three-time Pro Bowler who owns four of the top five single-season tackles totals in team history. Smith, the franchise leader in every major receiving category, has been to five Pro Bowls, including last season when he caught 79 passes for 1,394 yards and seven touchdowns.

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