Cam Newton throws in first practice, will be on “pitch count”

AP

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has been seen throwing, but only some short passes in the locker room.

Wednesday night, the former MVP aired a few out for the fans, taking part in the Panthers first practice of training camp.

Another step in the process,” Newton said, via Bryan Strickland of the team’s official website. “It’s a start. Everything felt good, but we have a long way to go to get where I know we can be. Tonight was just fun getting out on the grass in front of the fans and throwing it around a little bit.”

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Newton would be on a “pitch count” as he recovers from surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder in March. That’s probably a necessity because of the physical component, but Newton clearly needs some work as the Panthers try to modify their offense this offseason.

“You could tell he was eager to get out there. I thought it was a good start,” offensive coordinator Mike Shula said. “He’s not there yet, and we wouldn’t expect him to be. The thing he’s got to do – and we’ve got to do collectively following our trainers and doctors – is not do too much.

“As a coach, you always want guys to get as many reps as they can, especially at that position. We are playing catch-up, but he has six years of experience, and that’s going to have him caught up as quickly as possible. Our goal is to have him ready for Week One.”

There was no sign after one practice that that goal is in jeopardy, but Newton and the Panthers have a lot of work to do between now and then.