BUFFALO – There usually isn’t much to see during pregame warmups, especially during the preseason.
Thursday night in Buffalo was a major exception.
Days after making pointed, critical comments about Cam Newton, Bills wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin came face to face with his former quarterback.
After exiting the tunnel by himself with a little yawn, Benjamin got loose with the other Bills wide receivers.
He had a quick chat with Mark Carrier, who works in the Panthers front office and had directed player engagement when Benjamin was in Carolina.
He later hugged Carolina’s wide receivers coaches – Lance Taylor, who coached him last year before he was traded, and Jerricho Cotchery, who he played alongside with for two seasons.
After that, Benjamin and Newton kept to themselves with about 20 yards separating former teammates who were at one point inseparable.
Shortly after linebacker Thomas Davis playfully engaged with Benjamin, Newton made his way over and reached out to shake Benjamin’s hand. When he declined, Newton ushered Davis to the side.
“I walked away to allow them the opportunity to talk things out,” Davis said. “Just brothers having a conversation, that's really all it was.”
It did not appear to be a friendly conversation.
Benjamin was laughing at first, but Newton’s quizzical expression remained from start to finish as they went back and forth for just over a minute. It was visibly heated as things appeared to escalate.
Newton’s hands were kept firmly behind his back until he finally waved Benjamin away once there was nothing more to say.
The video below captured by the Charlotte Observer shows it all.
Benjamin finished the game with four catches and a touchdown. When time expired on Carolina’s 28-23 victory, Benjamin went straight from the Buffalo sideline to the locker room, catching up briefly with Carolina’s Damiere Byrd when they crossed paths.
As expected, the majority of the questions Benjamin faced in the locker room after the game concerned the pregame interaction with Newton, who did not address the media postgame.
“Moving on from it,” Benjamin said repeatedly. “Just moving on from it.”
A reporter asked what Newton was trying to say to him.
“I wasn’t even trying to listen,” Benjamin said.
Benjamin was later asked if this was at all difficult for him considering how close he and Newton were when his career began in Carolina.
“Not at all man,” he answered. “I play for the Buffalo Bills.”