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Dave Gettleman on Kelvin Benjamin, Cam Newton, No. 8 and ‘Windows’

Excerpts from media availability with Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman.


On deciding to pick up WR Kelvin Benjamin’s fifth-year option (expected to cost around $8 million)

“We’re really fired up with the way Kelvin finished the year. He started the year strong, had that lull, then finished up – he was a man. The Tampa game … Cam throws the ball, and I’m saying to myself, ‘Who the hell is he throwing that to?’ All of a sudden I see (Benjamin) jump and it’s like, ‘Holy crap!’ Then he almost killed Brent Grimes on the boundary.”

On why the Panthers allowed QB Cam Newton to play out the season with a partially torn rotator cuff

“Everybody’s on a case-by-case basis. We are in the business of winning, that’s what we’re here for. I just know that’s my responsibility – put the best club on the field and win games. That’s Ron (Rivera’s) job. That’s why we’re all here. … Cam’s a football player, he wanted to play, the medical people felt he was fine, so he did.”

On the Panthers saying Newton’s MRI was “clean” when it wasn’t

“My integrity and the organization’s integrity is very important. Our owner is old school. I’m old school, so it makes it easy for me. We’ve been very transparent. Ron’s as transparent as any head coach in this league, and my integrity is very important to me.”

On his thoughts about the Panthers’ No. 8 pick in next month’s draft

“Sitting at eight, we’re going to take the best guy. We filled in some blanks in free agency and I was very pleased at how it went. And the other thing is this is a damn good draft. There’s a lot of players here, and I’m just through the offense. I’m going to start the defense this weekend. There’s going to be a number of good players there. … When you’re sitting at eight, you’re going to be looking at a variety. You’re going to be in Ben and Jerry’s. Chocolate, pistachio, rocky road. You’re going to have a variety of guys to look at – it gets you excited.”

On why he traded DE Kony Ealy

“It’s a heavy draft and it was an opportunity for us to move up. To you guys, eight spots doesn’t seem like much, but to me it’s gold.”

On if his offseason shopping spree showed the Panthers are trying to take advantage of a ‘window’

“I’ve told you I’m not a believer in windows. Really and truly, every year my butt’s on the line. As is Ron’s. Our goal is to win. And it’s not to just win yesterday or in three years. It’s to win now. I like my job; I’m having fun. I’d like to keep it. Every decision that ultimately rests on my head is made with making us the best team we can be now and into the future. That’s what I’m trying to do.”

Click here for Gettleman’s thoughts on RB Jonathan Stewart’s extension and here for OT Michael Oher’s status.

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