In accordance with the NFL CBA's rules on offseason programs, the Panthers will conduct a rookie mini-camp beginning this weekend.
The guidelines, per NFL.com, are as follows:
Each club may hold a rookie football development program for a period of seven weeks, which in 2013 may begin on May 13. During this period, no activities may be held on weekends, with the exception of one post-NFL Draft rookie minicamp, which may be conducted on either the first or second weekend following the draft.
The Panthers elected to have their mini-camp during the second weekend of May, and will host all rookies for activities from May 10-12 (Friday-Sunday).
I haven't seen any information on whether or not attendance is mandatory, but if you're a rookie trying to make it in the NFL it's probably in your best interest to show up. (Just don't try to be there a week early, Quinton Patton.)
If you're scoring at home, the rookie mini-camps are considered part of Phase Two of the offseason program. The CBA's rules concerning what teams can do during Phase Two are as follows:
Phase Two shall consist of the next three weeks of the Club's offseason workout program. Subject to the additional rules set forth in Section 5 of this Article, during Phase Two all coaches shall be allowed on the field. On-field workouts may include individual player instruction and drills, as well as "perfect play" drills (e.g., offense or defense only, but not offense vs. defense), or special teams drills on a "separates" basis (e.g .. , kicking team or return team only, but not kicking team vs. return team). No live contact or team offense vs. team defense drills are permitted. No offense vs. defense drills are permitted (e.g. - no one-on-one offensive linemen vs. defensive linemen pass rush or pass protection drills, no wide receivers vs. defensive backs bump-and-run drills, and no one-on-one special teams drills involving both offense and defense are permitted.) Players cannot wear helmets during Phase Two.
While it's still not "football", at the very least it's more than they were allowed to do in Phase One of the offseason program - at least the coaches can be on the field during drills this time.
We're getting closer friends. Before you know it, we'll be heading to Spartanburg for training camp, and that's when the real fun begins.