SPARTANBURG – Carolina Panthers fans who attended the first week of training camp at Wofford College were mostly hopeful for a good season, despite uncertainty surrounding the quarterback situation.
Camp returned to Spartanburg on July 27 and continues through August 10. The Panthers open the preseason August 13 in Washington, and host Cleveland in the regular season opener on September 11.
Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold are competing for the starting quarterback position. The team acquired Mayfield from the Cleveland Browns in a trade earlier in July. Darnold started 11 games for the Panthers last season, posting a 4-7 record. During practice on July 29, Mayfield and Darnold shared plays with the starting offense.
Zion Reid, of Simpsonville, has attended training camp regularly for six years. He is a fan of the quarterback competition between Mayfield and Darnold and hopes it will make the team better and more prepared for the regular season.
Channon Reid, left, and Zion Reid of Simpsonville showed their support for the Carolina Panthers at training camp on July 29 at Wofford College in Spartanburg. Chris Lavender/staff
“I like to see the development of players in training camp,” said Reid. “It’s good to see camp back in Spartanburg and like watching the players in skilled positions.”
Training camp’s stay in Spartanburg appeared to be over after the franchise announced plans to build a new team headquarters and practice facility near Rock Hill. Construction on the proposed $800 million facility ended in March. It was originally expected to be completed in 2023.
GT Real Estate Holdings, owned by Panthers owner David Tepper, ended its contract with the city of Rock Hill on April 19. The city and the real estate company had been in a dispute over whether to issue bonds to help pay for infrastructure public , according to the Associated Press.
The franchise extended its agreement with Wofford throughout this year while it was building the practice facility. City officials have expressed hope that the team will continue to hold training camp in Spartanburg.
Bill Spiers, of Charlotte, has attended Panthers training camp since 2004. He was in Spartanburg July 28 and 29.
“I’ve been watching football for 59 years, and on game day you don’t get to see all the nuances that you get to see in practice,” Spiers said. “Looking at the drills, you get a better sense of what they do on the pitch.”
Jordan and Ashley Hairr, of Spartanburg, brought their children Audrey, 5, and Carter, 3, to boot camp for the first time. Jordan Hairr said he believes the quarterback competition will make the team stronger.
“We are excited to have Baker Mayfield on the team and hope that it will mean that Carolina will have a good season,” said Jordan Hairr. “The team seems deeper on offense than defense.”
During practice, crowd noise was played through loudspeakers on the field to simulate game situations.
Carolina Panthers practice July 29 at Wofford College in Spartanburg. Training camp continues through August 10. Chris Lavender/staff
All practices are free and open to the public. Autographs are allowed after practices in training at this year’s camp. In 2021, signatures were not allowed due to pandemic restrictions.
On July 30, the team will host a Saturday Back Together event at Gibbs Stadium starting at 11 a.m. Gates will open at 10 am The event will include performances by the Panthers’ cheerleading squad and mascot, Sir Purr.
The franchise first held camp in Wofford in 1995. Since then, the Panthers have been in Spartanburg for camp every year except 2020, which was due to the NFL’s COVID-19 travel restrictions.
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