SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) — Coach Ron Rivera believes joint practices have become an invaluable part of today’s NFL.

The Panthers wrapped up two days of practices at Wofford College with the Buffalo Bills that he thinks will go a long way toward helping both teams prepare for the regular season. Unlike preseason games, players weren’t allowed to tackle which Rivera believes can be dually beneficial in getting plays down pat while at the same time not risking major injuries.

“I’m not sure if playing the games is as important as it used to be, but things like this are invaluable,” Rivera said Wednesday.

This is the third time in five seasons the Panthers have practiced with another team.

“If you can get two teams that come in focused on working and developing you can help each other out a lot,” Rivera said.

MUSIC MAN: Le’Veon Bell was in fifth grade when he simply couldn’t shake music from his mind.

The creative beats. The grooving basslines. The raw lyrics.

He was hooked on it all, just like football.

“That’s when I really realized I loved music,” the star running back recalled in an interview with The Associated Press at the New York Jets’ facility. “I remember 50 Cent, he had dropped the album ‘Get Rich or Die Tryin’, and I saved up my own money to go to Walmart and I bought the CD. I listened to the CD and I just remember thinking, ‘Man, 50 Cent is so cool. I want to be like 50 Cent,’ you know?”

Bell has similar lofty goals for his burgeoning rap career.

“For real, I want to be No. 1,” Bell said. “I want to hit the No. 1 song, the No. 1 Billboard (song), that’s what I want to do. I want to eventually get better and get to those music shows, making songs with the great ones and things like that.”

COX JR. BUSTED: North Carolina Highway Patrol cited Carolina Panthers defensive end Bryan Cox Jr. for speeding, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia on the final day of the team’s training camp.

Sergeant Christopher Knox of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety says troopers pulled over the 25-year-old Cox on Interstate 85 northbound near Bessemer City for driving 90 mph in a 65 mph zone in a 2015 Nissan. Cox was cited for possessing less than a half-ounce of marijuana. He has an Oct. 14 court date.

The incident came about an hour after the Panthers broke camp at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and players began returning home to Charlotte, North Carolina.

Cox has been with the Panthers since 2017. He’s the son of Bryan Cox, who played 12 seasons in the NFL and was named All-Pro three times.

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