After missing a week of practice and the preseason finale, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton returned Monday and remains on schedule to play in Sunday’s season opener against the Bucs.
Newton, who suffered a hairline fracture in his ribs nine days ago against the Patriots, went through a full practice while wearing a bigger flak jacket with extra padding.
“I told him in the event of a water landing he can be used as a flotation device,” center Ryan Kalil joked.
Newton has tested a few flak jackets already in an effort to find one that feels comfortable. In the portion of practice open to the media, the fourth-year player still appeared a bit stiff, but he did go through drills seemingly without restrictions.
“He threw a few more passes today than we expected,” Head Coach Ron Rivera said. “He’s all right. He’s sore, but it’s not like it was when it first happened.”
Newton was not available for comment, but according to a few of his teammates, he appeared relatively ok. No one doubts he’ll start Sunday. The key is what happens after kickoff.
“He looked good out there throwing the ball, calling the plays, like he never lost a step,” left tackle Byron Bell said. “We just got to keep him upright and we should be fine going out to Tampa.”