Panther Tracks

More Kelvin Benjamin fallout: Shannon Sharpe ethers KB, while Cowherd targets Cam

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, left, and quarterback Cam Newton joke around during the team’s Fan Fest at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., on Friday, Aug. 4, 2017. Benjamin was critical of Newton in an interview with a national publication.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, left, and quarterback Cam Newton joke around during the team’s Fan Fest at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., on Friday, Aug. 4, 2017. Benjamin was critical of Newton in an interview with a national publication. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin made national headlines over the weekend for comments he made to the Athletic concerning his days in Carolina and Panthers QB Cam Newton.

“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.”

Well, there was plenty of reaction Monday from the national sports talking heads.

Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd and Shannon Sharpe had opposite reactions.

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Sharpe lit into Benjamin, pointing out that Newton was rookie of the year and league MVP, both while playing without Benjamin.

“I just want to know when guys are going to take responsibility and accountability for what’s going on in their life,” Sharpe said. “Was it Cam’s fault that Kelvin Benjamin showed up at camp at 280-plus pounds as a wide receiver?

“Dude you could do a lot worse than Cam Newton. Cam Newton is an MVP. Cam Newton is a (expletive) good quarterback...To come out and take a shot at Cam and say it was a bad fit, no. The buffet was a bad fit because you ate yourself out of a job in Carolina. That was the problem.”

Former Panthers receiver Steve Smith also weighed in on the NFL Network Sunday.

“He was on a national championship (team), but it took (Benjamin) four years to start,” Smith said. “He came in his rookie year overweight. He came in his second year overweight....To say nothing is your fault...I’m pretty sure there’s a lot of things we all want to change or dislike, but to put it on others is not the guy I love to watch play football.”

Now, on his show on Fox Sports Monday afternoon, Cowherd -- who has been taking his fair share of shots at Newton in the preseason -- took the opportunity to take a few more.

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Cowherd took a few shots at Panthers fans and compared Newton to Oklahoma City basketball star Russell Westbrook, saying the two are fashion icons, league MVPs and premier athletes with some serious flaws to their games, referencing Westbrook’s poor free throw shooting and Newton’s passing accuracy issues.

“Kelvin Benjamin,” Cowherd said, “didn’t saying anything (about Newton) that everybody didn’t know outside of Charlotte.”

So here’s Shannon Sharpe’s take, followed by Cowherd’s.

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