Pregame Tension Between Ex-teammates Newton, Benjamin

About 90 minutes prior to kickoff of the Buffalo-Carolina preseason Week 1 match-up, Panthers’ QB Cam Newton approached his former teammate and current Bills’ receiver Kelvin Benjamin about Benjamin’s negative comments that he made last week during an interview with The Athletic. During the interview, Benjamin ripped both the Panthers’ organization and Newton:

“If you would’ve put me with any other quarterback…any other accurate quarterback like (Aaron) Rodgers or Eli Manning or Big Ben (Rothlisberger) anybody! – quarterbacks with knowledge, that know how to place a ball and give you a better chance to catch the ball. It just felt like I wasn’t in that position.”

On Thursday, Newton met Benjamin near midfield seeming to take exception to his comments. The two were talking with Panthers’ linebacker Thomas Davis, until Newton shooed him away to get Benjamin one-on-one. No one is sure what was said between the two, but Benjamin refused a handshake from Newton, and the conversation ended with Newton waving Benjamin off like he didn’t want to speak to him anymore. After the game, Benjamin was asked about the situation with Newton which he commented, “Just moving on from it…I wasn’t even trying to listen.”

Both Newton and Benjamin made the most of the couple of drives they were on the field, especially the latter. Benjamin caught all four of his targets and capped off the Bills’ first drive with a 28-yard touchdown catch after burning a Carolina defensive back on a streak down the left side. He also made a beautiful toe-tapping catch along the sideline to extend the Bills’ drive earlier in the possession.

Cam Newton also played well throwing 6/9 for 84 yards, and led a touchdown drive on Carolina’s second possession. The drive was highlighted by a 28-yard pass from Newton to Jarius Wright which set up a Christian McCaffrey touchdown from 2 yards out.

The Bills and Panthers will not face each other in the regular season, so it appears as if the Newton-Benjamin drama is over, at least for now.

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