CHARLOTTE – Last week, quarterback Cam Newton looked into the camera, smiled, and confidently shared this message: "Streets want to know when Boogie coming back… Due time, people. In due time."
The wait is (almost) over.
Newton, who underwent an arthroscopic procedure on his throwing shoulder performed by head team physician Pat Connor shortly after the 2018 season, will take another step forward in his recovery when the Panthers begin their three-day minicamp Tuesday.
Newton is scheduled to throw during all quarterback drills. He'll execute a limited number of throws to stationary targets. It's still unclear when Newton will start participating in team drills.
"This is all part of the rehab process," head athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion said. "Cam has worked extremely hard this offseason with his rehabilitation and his preparation.
"He's going to continue the throwing program Tuesday and we'll advance it as we monitor his progress. He's achieved every milestone we've set out for him so far in preparation for this."
Throughout the offseason, head coach Ron Rivera has repeatedly talked about how encouraged he's been with what he's seen from the former NFL MVP. Newton has been dialed in during meetings and has taken advantage of every opportunity for mental reps.
"He's done an outstanding job with his rehab and just being accountable to get his shoulder in the best shape possible," quarterbacks coach Scott Turner said. "Mentally, with me in the classroom, he's just been great. He understands how important all of this is. He's progressing and he's excited about it. We all are. He's got a chance to have a really great year."
As has been continually documented over the last few months, Newton is clearly feeling good about his progress. He's trained extremely hard away from the facility, he gleefully orchestrated #FlexFriday photo shoots with teammates in the weight room and he's been his energetic self as an observer throughout OTA practices.
"Cam's confidence level is up because he's pain-free," Vermillion said. "He feels good about where he is right now – but we're not done. This is one more step in our process as we get him ready for 2019."