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Panthers' Cam Newton 'sluggish' in return to practice

When Cam Newton underwent ankle surgery in March, he was expected to recover in time for training camp.

As it turns out, Newton is a month ahead of schedule in his rehab.

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The Carolina Panthers quarterback participated in 7-on-7 drills Thursday in the team's final minicamp practice.

Newton completed 8-of-15 passes, picking up steam after missing seven of his first 10 throws.

"Real sluggish," Newton said afterwards, via ESPN.com's David Newton. "My mind was moving faster than my body, but that comes with time.

"Excited to get back out there. Not 100 percent yet, but any progress is good progress."

Newton will remain in Charlotte rehabbing his ankle while working out with several receivers, including first-round draft pick Kelvin Benjamin.

The Panthers are confident that Newton will be back to normal by the start of the regular season.

With the offensive line and wide receiver corps under construction this summer, Newton will have to be at the peak of his powers to avoid stumbling out of the gate in September.

In the latest edition of the "Around The League Podcast," the guys make the case that multiple teams have closed the gap on the Seahawks and 49ers in the NFC.

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