Bills WR Benjamin blasts Newton, Panthers

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (13) catches a pass during training camp at St. John Fisher College on July 27.Photo: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports (file photo)

Bills WR Kelvin Benjamin appeared to call out QB Cam Newton when reflecting on his time with the Panthers.

Benjamin told The Athletic that he and the Panthers weren't a good fit and openly lamented being unable to play with a more accurate quarterback to begin his career.

"I mean, I felt like I would've been even more successful if ... I don't know, man ... If I would've ... Looking back on it, I should've just been drafted by somebody else. I should've never went to Carolina. Truly, I just think Carolina was bad for me. It was a bad fit from the get-go," the 27-year-old Benjamin said.

"If you would've put me with any other quarterback, let's be real, you know what I'm saying? 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, who was the 2015 NFL Most Valuable Player, owns a career completion percentage of 58.5 and has never finished with a percentage higher than 60 during the wideout's four-year stay in Carolina.

"I ain't gonna go back and forth with him," Newton responded in an Instagram post. "I'm just gonna work, you feel me? That's all it is. You know what it is. Just work, baby."

Benjamin, who was traded to Buffalo during last season, dismissed those who are critical of his comments in a tweet on Saturday.

"I'm just crazy then !!! I was the one who buried my mom and skip the grievance process to get back and help that team," he wrote. ".... let be real it's was all fake .. and to be honest i was salty Who wouldn't be .... I just ben holding it all in. And now I'm free. Hate me or love me."

Benjamin and Newton connected 73 times for 1,008 yards and nine scores in the former's rookie season in 2014. Benjamin then tore his ACL during the following preseason, with Newton guiding the Panthers to the Super Bowl during the 2015 campaign.

The 6-foot-5, 245-pound Benjamin has recorded 184 receptions for 2,641 yards and 19 touchdowns in 46 career games since being selected by Carolina with the 28th overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft. Last season, he finished with 48 catches for 692 yards and three scores.

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The Bills host the Panthers in a preseason game on Thursday.

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Benjamin's criticism did not sit well with his own coach, Sean McDermott, who told ESPN radio that he has a lot of respect for all opposing players.

"There's a time and a place -- I'm not saying specific to what comments were made -- there's a time and place for things like that," McDermott told Mike Rodak of ESPN. "This was not one of them. We have a lot of respect for our opponents, No. 1, and everyone in the league. I've spoken with Kelvin and that's not how I want us to handle things like that. So we'll move forward as a team and I'm hoping we've already done that."

McDermott spent six seasons as the defensive coordinator before being named Buffalo's coach in January 2017. Benjamin's critique had to sting many in both camps where close relationships remain.



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