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Panthers GM: Releasing Newton most difficult decision

The Cam Newton era in Carolina ended this offseason with the quarterback's release last month.

The man who drafted Newton, general manager Marty Hurney, spoke to reporters Monday for the first time since the decision to move on became official.

"This was probably one of the most difficult (decisions). I drafted Cam," Hurney said, via Bill Voth of the team's official website.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 Draft won an NFL MVP in 2015 and led the Panthers to four playoff appearances in nine seasons in Carolina. Newton, however, struggled to stay healthy the last several seasons, undergoing multiple shoulder surgeries and missing all but two games in 2019 due to a foot injury that required a medical procedure.

Hurney declined to give a reason for the decision to attempt to trade Newton and ultimately the release of the former first-round pick.

"As soon as we (decided to trade him), I called Cam's representatives and told them we were going to start calling teams to see if there was trade interest in Cam," Hurney said, via Joe Person of The Athletic.

The day the Panthers announced the decision to allow Newton to seek a trade, the quarterback made it known he wasn't the one who desired a breakup.

With Carolina unable to find a trade partner, it released the man who had been the face of the franchise for nearly a decade. The Panthers swiftly signed Teddy Bridgewater to take the QB1 mantle for Matt Rhule's team.

Given the restrictions on medical tests, Newton remains a free agent with a cloud of uncertainty hanging overhead.

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