Cam Newton not participating in drills for third time in a week

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is being brought back to full speed at a snail’s pace, sitting out of drills for the third time in a week on Thursday.

Newton had surgery to repair damage to his throwing shoulder earlier this offseason, and the team is taking an extremely cautious approach.

He expressed relief about being able to throw the ball 45 yards during the first practice last week, per David Newton of ESPN:

“It was a sigh of relief for a lot of people, because I wasn’t right at the end of the season,” said Newton, speaking to reporters for the first time at camp. “And it was a sigh of relief for myself as well to be able to throw like that again.”

However, Newton cautioned fans that this will be a process.

“But like I said, it’s a process. I don’t want people to just assume, ‘Oh, Cam’s back!’ I’m doing a lot of work behind the scenes to make sure that I’m able to practice and to practice with the capabilities I know I can and the team expects me to be.”

Newton made steady progress this offseason and, if he suffers no setbacks in his recovery, he’ll be healthy and ready to take on the rigors of a new season come Week 1.

Armed with a compact new throwing motion, and a tremendous supporting cast, Newton recently said he no longer feels the need to play “Superman” and do it all by himself. Offensive coordinator Norv Turner has issued glowing reports about what he’s seen developmentally from the 2015 NFL MVP.

If it all goes right, Newton may just get back to that pinnacle once more. In the meantime, both he and the team are playing it safe. And that’s the right move.