When the Carolina Panthers drafted wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin in 2014, the team hoped he would form an unstoppable partnership with his fellow 6-foot 5-inch athletic marvel Cam Newton.
That didn't happen. Benjamin did reach 1000 yards in his rookie campaign. However, the team won 15 games and went to the Super Bowl the next year -- which Benjamin missed entirely with a torn ACL. His production slipped when he returned in 2016 and the Panthers traded him to Buffalo in the middle of last season.
In a new interview with The Athletic, Benjamin ripped Newton -- who's not the league's most accurate passer -- for hindering his career.
"I mean, I felt like I would've been even more successful if... Looking back on it, I should've just been drafted by somebody else," he told The Athletic. "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 ... 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 responded to Benjamin on IG Story, taking the high road.
Cam Newton’s IG story seemingly addresses Kelvin Benjamin’s remarks to the Athletic:— Matt Harris (@MHarrisWSOC9) August 4, 2018
“I ain’t gonna go back and forth with him, I’m just gonna work...” pic.twitter.com/v4BteGHsqi
Veteran Panthers tight end Greg Olsen -- Newton's favorite target -- also weighed in, calling Newton the "best thing that's happened to my career."
"It's kind of weird," said Olsen when asked Sunday what he believed might have sparked Benjamin's sharp criticism. "I think we all felt the same way. We all wish Kelvin the best. Obviously, things change, but, again, we've talked at length about how guys around here feel about Cam. Obviously, you don't like people going after your quarterback, but I think Cam knows how the guys around here feel about him.
“The reality is there hasn’t been a more productive duo than the two of us at our positions. He’s a big reason for that, and I am not afraid to admit that,” Olsen said. “I’ve been fortunate to play with him. I’ve benefited from being his teammates. I’m going to try to take advantage of it as long as I can.”