Sore-shouldered Newton benched by stumbling NFL Panthers

Washington (AFP) –


Cam Newton, who has struggled to move the Carolina Panthers during a six-game losing streak, will be inactive on Sunday and likely the rest of the season, the NFL team announced on Wednesday.

Newton has battled a sore right shoulder much of the year as the Panthers have sunk to 6-8 and are all-but mathematically eliminated from playoff contention with two games remaining.

Reserve Taylor Heinicke will quarterback the Panthers against Atlanta on Sunday, Carolina general manager Marty Hurney said. Multiple reports said Newton, 29, would be benched for the final game of the campaign as well.

In 14 starts this season, Newton has completed 320 of 471 passes for 3,395 yards with 24 touchdowns and 13 interceptions while also rushing for 488 yards and four touchdowns.

Newton, the 2015 NFL Most Valuable Player who led the Panthers to the 2016 Super Bowl where they lost to Denver, went 16-for-29 for 131 yards in a 12-9 loss Monday to NFL-best New Orleans (12-2), whom the Panthers visit for their December 30 season finale.

Newton began missing practice sessions at mid-season with a sore shoulder, the same one that underwent surgery in March 2017 to repair a torn rotator cuff. This time, the cause is unknown.

"I wish I could say what the injury is because I don't really know,: Newton said Monday. "There's not a night that goes by without me getting some type of work done on my arm.

"It's not something that hasn't got worse over the weeks or hasn't got better over the weeks. It's just been the same."