Jun 17, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton stretches during the minicamp held at the Carolina Panthers practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Cam Newton returns to practice for Carolina Panthers

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Cam Newton is back on the practice field for the Carolina Panthers for the first time since his March 19th ankle surgery. The quarterback participated in 7-on-7 drills during Thursday’s final minicamp session for Carolina, reports AP.

Newton spoke after the practice session about how he felt. “My mind was moving faster than my body, but that all comes with time,” the QB said, adding that he expects to be back to full speed in time for training camp, which opens July 25.

The ankle reportedly has been an issue for Newton going all the way back to college, but it flared up late in the 2013 regular season and into the playoffs.

Despite the surgery, Panthers coach Ron Rivera has said that Newton won’t run any less during the coming season.

In April, Carolina exercised their fifth-year option on Newton, who will make $14.67 million in 2014 barring a new contract. Newton has said he won’t hold out to get a new deal. It’s believed that Newton desires a contract similar to the 7-year/$126 million deal signed by Jay Cutler.

The question in Carolina isn’t whether Newton will play, it’s who he will throw the ball to. The Panthers this offseason parted ways with their top 3 receivers Steve Smith, Brandon LaFell and Ted Ginn.

Rookie Kelvin Benjamin and free agent pickups Jason Avant and Jerricho Cotchery will attempt to fill that significant void.

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