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Panthers’ Christian McCaffrey reacts to Cam Newton release

Christian McCaffrey, Cam Newton, Panthers

The Carolina Panthers released Cam Newton on Tuesday, marking the end of the quarterback’s nine-year run with the club.

Following the news, Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey took to social media to thank Newton:

“Thank you 1!” McCaffrey wrote on Instagram, referencing Newton’s jersey number. “You changed the way I approach the game and put the fun back in it for me. I’ll always owe you for that. I speak for the Carolinas when I say thank you for all memories and smiles you brought us… #1ØVĒ”

Of course, McCaffrey just entered the NFL in 2017, so he didn’t even get a chance to play with Newton when Newton was in the prime of his career.

Newton, who played his collegiate football at Auburn, was originally selected by Carolina with the first overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft.

It didn’t take long for the 30-year-old to establish himself as one of the league’s most exciting young stars, as he made the Pro Bowl in his rookie year.

However, Newton’s most impressive stretch with the Panthers came during the 2015-16 campaign, when he threw for 3,837 yards and 35 touchdowns while rushing for 636 yards and 10 scores. He not only made the Pro Bowl and earned a First-Team All-Pro selection, but he was named the NFL MVP and lead Carolina to a 15-1 record and a Super Bowl appearance.

Since then, however, Newton has been on a steady decline thanks much in part to injuries. The signal-caller has undergone a pair of shoulder surgeries since the end of 2016, and earlier this offseason, he underwent a procedure to repair a foot issue that limited him to just two games this past year.