The Carolina Panthers began their third and final week of OTAs like they spent their second - without Kawann Short.
The Pro Bowl defensive tackle suddenly stopped showing to the team's voluntary practices last week, unsatisfied with the Panthers' latest long-term contract offer. As expected, Short was again a no-show on Tuesday.
"Because it's voluntary, he decided not to come," head coach Ron Rivera said. "It's one of those things that he's got to decide what he wants to do, and since it's voluntary, we're not too concerned about it. We'll coach who's here."
Short's absence opens up snaps for first-round pick Vernon Butler, who took most of the first-team reps for a second straight Tuesday. But it's impossible to ignore Short's status - an unexpected snag for the Panthers, who already had an offseason's worth of contract drama in April.
This isn't like Josh Norman's situation, though. The Panthers' now former cornerback didn't sign his franchise tag tender, so he was never under contract. Short is through 2016.
"He's under contract, so I'm not concerned with it," Rivera said. "The truth of the matter is, you expect him to do the mandatory things, you expect him to be where he's supposed to be."
And while the Panthers expect Short back for next week's mandatory minicamp, that doesn't mean he will be. Short may believe the message he's trying to send is worth the $76,580 fine he'd face if he stays away.
"We understand a guy in his business," said safety Tre Boston. "It's fine, we're good. He can take his time."
Among Tuesday's other absentees were receiver Kelvin Benjamin, who was again excused for a personal matter, and defensive end Kony Ealy, who went home sick. Because Short didn't have to be there, his wasn't necessarily an unexcused absence, but it certainly was noticed.
"You'd love to have everybody here, but again, this is voluntary," Rivera said.
"The thing I appreciate - for the most part, everybody has told me what's been going on - with the exception of one person."