Panthers quarterback Cam Newton practiced Monday for the first time since cracking a rib against New England on Aug. 22 and looked much less stiff than in days before.
The Panthers re-evaluated Newton this weekend, and he threw 25 passes before coming back to the facility Sunday to workout in the weight room and the underwater treadmill.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera reiterated he expects Newton to start Sunday at Tampa Bay.
“He’s sore but it’s not like it was when it first happened,” Rivera said. “Today he moved around a lot better. He did a lot of work yesterday. Today he came back and had another good day.”
Teammates said after practice Newton looked the same as he had before the injury, which occurred on a scramble against the Patriots in the third exhibition. But he was wearing a beefed-up flak jacket with his game pads at Monday’s practice while other players wore shells.
Rivera said the equipment staff and training staff are working with the flak jacket manufacturers to find the best fit for Newton.
Also on Monday, Rivera announced the team captains. And for a second consecutive year, Newton was voted by his teammates as one of the six captains.
Along with Newton, center Ryan Kalil, tight end Greg Olsen, linebacker Luke Kuechly, defensive end Charles Johnson and linebacker Thomas Davis were named captains. The captaincy is a first-time honor for Olsen.