Cam Newton, Luke Kuechly to sit Panthers' preseason opener against Bears

Cam Newton, Luke Kuechly to sit Panthers' preseason opener against Bears

The Panthers are taking a cautious approach when it comes to Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly.  

Coach Ron Rivera announced Tuesday that both the quarterback and linebacker will not play during Carolina’s preseason opener against the Bears. Kyle Allen will replace Newton, while Jermaine Carter will start for Kuechly.

“It’s just to be careful,” Rivera said (via the team’s official website). “There are a lot of things that we want to see from the young guys. By doing that, we give Kyle an opportunity right off the bat. We’re going to have a few more games where his reps are certainly going to be limited.

“Everything we are doing with Cam has been mapped out and everything is fine. … Again, we are just going through the next step in the process.”

Newton struggled with shoulder pain in his throwing arm last season, which ultimately hampered his ability to throw downfield. He was shut down for the Panthers’ final two games after Carolina fell out of playoff contention. He had surgery at the end of January on the same shoulder he had surgically repaired in mid-2017. 

Newton has resumed throwing since the team opened training camp.

“I embrace this whole process because it’s made me feel like a rookie again,” Newton said last month. “Learning certain things, learning new mechanics, focusing on the little nuances of playing a quarterback position and trying to master it. So at this point in my career, it’s not about velocity. It’s not about throwing a ball 70 yards. It’s about efficient football that’s gonna win football games.”

Kuechly, on the other hand, was sidelined for several practices last week after suffering an undisclosed injury, though Kuechly confirmed he wasn’t in the concussion protocol.

“My head is good. I wasn’t in the protocol,” Kuechly said. “Like coach has said, I just got rolled up weird and they said ‘You gotta sit out, Luke,’ and you gotta listen to what they say. I practiced the last few days. Everything is fine. I just got hit weird on the side, but it’s all good.”

The Panthers will open their preseason in Chicago on Thursday with kickoff set for 8 p.m. ET.