Cam Newton responds to earlier Carolina Panthers claim, saying he "never asked" to be traded
Cam Newton claimed the Carolina Panthers "forced" him into seeking a trade as he delivered an angry response to the team's story on his expected departure.
The Panthers released a statement on Tuesday saying they had "given Cam Newton permission to seek a trade", ending a nine-year run for the first overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Though new Carolina head coach Matt Rhule stated earlier in the offseason that he "absolutely" wanted to keep the 2015 NFL MVP on the roster, the news comes as no surprise given foot and shoulder injuries have plagued Newton in recent seasons and the Panthers are rebuilding.
In the statement, general manager Marty Hurney said: "Every year difficult decisions are made and they are never easy. We have been working with Cam and his agent to find the best fit for him moving forward and he will always be a Carolina Panther in our hearts."
However, the wording of the statement - and the suggestion it was the Panthers who had allowed Newton to explore other options - led to the 30-year-old biting back.
"Stop with the word play!!" he wrote in an Instagram comment under the team's story.
"I never asked for it!! There is no dodging this one; I love the @panthers to death and will always love you guys!!
"Please do not try and play me or manipulate the narrative and act like I wanted this; you forced me into this!!"
Tight end Greg Olsen, who signed for the Seattle Seahawks last month after being released by Carolina, wrote in a comment: "Sounds familiar".
Newton, who led the Panthers to Super Bowl 50, where they lost to the Denver Broncos, is set to leave Carolina having thrown for 29,041 yards, 182 touchdowns and 108 interceptions in his career.