Cam Newton has called out his team the Carolina Panthers after management said he is free to seek a trade.
The announcement from the Panthers’ front office comes months after the NFL seemed undecided on what to do with the quarterback amid concerns about Newton’s health, including the multiple surgeries he has had on his foot and shoulder in recent years. Additionally, he only played two games in 2019 after fracturing his left foot during the preseason, Atlanta Black Star reports.
The Panthers ultimately decided to part ways with Newton, as team owner David Tepper said there was uncertainty within the franchise’s leadership about the NFL star’s ability to bounce back to 100%, Sports Illustrated reports.
Newton commented under the announcement on Instagram and made clear that he never asked for a trade.
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“Stop with the word play,” he wrote. “There is no dodging this one. I love the Panthers to death and will always love you guys. Please do not try and play me or manipulate the narrative and act like I wanted this, you forced me into this.”
Several former Panthers players commented under the post, including tight end Greg Olsen, who referred to his own exist with the team by writing “Sounds familiar.”
In a statement on the Panthers website, General manager Marty Hurney addressed the end of Newton’s nine-year run in Carolina.
“One of the distinct pleasures of my career was selecting Cam with the first pick in the 2011 draft,” Hurney said. “Every year difficult decisions are made and they are never easy. We have been working with Cam and his agent to find the best fit for him moving forward and he will always be a Carolina Panther in our hearts.”
Tepper also praised Newton in a statement, calling him “one of the all-time greats in Panthers history.”
Adding, “Off the field, you can’t measure Cam’s contributions. He has touched the lives of youth throughout the Carolinas and in Atlanta. He’s unique and I wish him all the best.”
Meanwhile, according to ESPN, the Panthers have inked a three-year deal with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater for $63 million.