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McDermott unhappy with Benjamin criticizing Panthers, Newton

August 5, 2018

PITTSFORD, N.Y. (AP) — Buffalo Bills coach Sean McDermott is not pleased with receiver Kelvin Benjamin questioning why the Carolina Panthers drafted him, and criticizing former teammate Cam Newton’s accuracy.

McDermott says “there’s a time and a place” to discuss those things, adding “this was not one of them.” McDermott says he’s informed Benjamin this is not how he wants his players to air their grievances.

McDermott spoke Sunday before the Bills returned to practice following a day off, and two days after Benjamin voiced his criticisms in an interview with The Athletic.

Benjamin was quoted as saying getting drafted by the Panthers was “a bad fit from the get-go,” when asked to assess his final 2½ seasons in Carolina. Without mentioning Newton specifically, Benjamin said he could have been more productive with “any other quarterback.”

He then pinpointed several star quarterbacks, including Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, in saying they had the knowledge and accuracy of placing a pass to a spot that makes it easier for a receiver to catch the ball.

The Panthers’ first-round pick in 2014, Benjamin set team records for rookies with 73 catches, 1,008 yards receiving and nine touchdowns. He missed the entire 2015 season with a left knee injury, and totaled 95 catches for 1,416 yards and nine touchdowns in his next 24 games before being traded to Buffalo in October.

Benjamin previously told The Associated Press he asked to be traded.

McDermott said one issue he had with Benjamin’s comments is that the Bills open their preseason Thursday hosting Carolina.

What makes Benjamin’s comments more awkward is McDermott and Bills general manager Brandon Beane previously worked together for the Panthers. McDermott spent six seasons as Carolina’s defensive coordinator before being hired by Buffalo in 2017.

Beane was the Panthers’ assistant general manager, and had a hand in drafting Benjamin.

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