Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and his former teammate, wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, appeared to have a tense conversation prior to Carolina’s preseason game against the Buffalo Bills on Thursday.
Videos of the two taken prior to kickoff show Newton rebuffed after approaching Benjamin, now with the Bills after being traded from the Panthers during last season, with his hand extended. Newton then sends away teammate Thomas Davis, who had been talking to Benjamin, and continues the conversation despite Benjamin trying to walk away.
The interaction lasted nearly a minute before the two parted ways, their final words to each other being accompanied by animated gestures.
Benjamin recently told The Athletic he wished he had never been drafted by Carolina, with specific mention to his poor rapport with Newton.
“If you would’ve put me with any other quarterback, let’s be real, you know what I’m saying?” Benjamin said in the interview. “Any other accurate quarterback like (Aaron) Rodgers or Eli Manning or Big Ben (Roethlisberger) — 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.”
Newton and Benjamin were teammates on the Panthers from the wideout’s first season in 2014 until last season. As a rookie, Benjamin was one of Newton’s top targets, catching 73 passes for 1,008 yards and nine touchdowns.
After missing 2015 due to injury, Benjamin caught 63 passes for 941 yards and seven scores in 2016, but he only had 32 catches for 475 yards and two touchdowns in eight games with Carolina in 2017 before being dealt to Buffalo.