Cam Newton rips Carolina Panthers, says he never asked for permission to seek trade

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The Carolina Panthers made an official announcement that they were giving Cam Newton permission to seek a trade.

Minutes later, Newton gave his side of the story and said the team "forced" him into the situation.

“Stop with the word play!!” Newton wrote in a comment using special characters from his verified Instagram account, in response to the Panthers’ post. “I never asked for it!! 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!!”

This came just minutes after the franchise issued a press release that said it met with Newton and his representatives on Tuesday and gave permission for Newton to seek a trade.

Later in the day, reports emerged that the Panthers had agreed to a three-year deal with Teddy Bridgewater to lead new coach Matt Rhule's attack, indicating the end of Newton's nine-year run as the team’s quarterback.

"One of the distinct pleasures of my career was selecting Cam with the first pick in the 2011 draft," Panthers general manager Marty Hurney said in a statement. "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."

Newton will turn 31 in May and has been Carolina’s most important player since he was selected with the No. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL draft. He is a three-time Pro Bowl selection and won the league’s Most Valuable Player award in 2015, the year he helped take the Panthers to Super Bowl 50. Newton was also an all-pro that season.

Lately, though, Newton has battled several lingering injuries that have kept him off the field. He dealt with a right (throwing) shoulder injury all of last offseason that required multiple surgeries, and he also suffered a Lisfranc fracture to his left foot in the 2019 preseason. He played in just two games this past season.

Newton has hinted at his displeasure with the Panthers and their lack of commitment to him in various social media posts, but his comments Tuesday were the clearest example of his frustrations with the team.

Newton holds most of Carolina’s all-time passing records and, if he leaves, would his career there with a 59.6% completion rate, 29,041 passing yards, 182 touchdowns and 108 interceptions. He also had 934 carries for 4,806 yards with 58 rushing scores.

The next steps might hinge on his health and the results from physicals, but Newton could be a valuable commodity on the open market, as a physically gifted, strong-armed passer with plenty of experience and versatility.

This news comes in the heels of Tom Brady announcing that he would not be returning to the New England Patriots. Meanwhile, there are potential starting quarterback openings for the Los Angeles Chargers, Indianapolis Colts and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, among others. The Chicago Bears and Las Vegas Raiders are also potential spots, depending on what happens with their current starters, Mitchell Trubisky and Derek Carr, respectively.

Follow Lorenzo Reyes on Twitter @LorenzoGReyes.

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