Panthers say Stephen Hill's arrest won't affect chances to make team

SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- Wide receiver Stephen Hill's citation for possession of drug paraphernalia Tuesday will not impact his chances of making the Carolina Panthers, team officials said.

"The best 53 players make our team," general manager Dave Gettleman said Thursday as players reported to training camp at Wofford College.

Coach Ron Rivera concurred.

"It doesn't affect it," Rivera said. "I know the situation and circumstances, which we will let play out, see how things go. He'll have to deal with that process and we'll react to what happens."

Hill was charged with knowingly possessing with intent to use drug paraphernalia. According to the police report, that included a marijuana bowl to process, prepare, store, contain and introduce marijuana into the body.

Gettleman said he spoke to Hill at great length.

"He is obviously very remorseful about what happened," Gettleman said. "He is a terrific kid. He has given no indication since he's been with us since September that this is who he is. He was very professional. He handled it very well. Right now we're going to let it go through the legal process."

Hill, a second-round pick by the New York Jets in 2012, spent last season on Carolina's practice squad after being released by the Jets at the end of training camp.

The former Georgia Tech star did well enough during offseason workouts to put himself in position for one of the final receiving spots on the 53-man roster.

The top five spots -- Kelvin Benjamin, Devin Funchess, Corey Brown, Ted Ginn Jr. and Jerricho Cotchery -- are all but a lock.

"In speaking with Stephen I told him, 'We're blessed to be in the position we're in. It's our responsibility to handle that,'" Gettleman said. "I have 28- and 25-year-old boys. I've told them since they were 15, the older you get the more your mistakes cost you."