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Cam Newton, Panthers players say Kelvin Benjamin trade took them by surprise

The trade of Kelvin Benjamin to the Bills at the deadline on Tuesday caught many members of the Carolina Panthers off guard.

Here is what some Panthers and coach Ron Rivera told reporters in Charlotte on Wednesday, according to, in the aftermath of the deal:

Two stats that make you wonder about the Kelvin Benjamin trade

Cam Newton

"I pretty much found out when y'all found out. But I don't want to dwell on that. Obviously it's emotional in nature, but that can't be a distraction for our preparation this week.

"No speed, with speed, I have one job and one job only – that's to try to find ways to win football games. I think we're good. We're in the right place. At the end of the day, it's a business. You think Atlanta cares about that? My feelings are irrelevant. We've got one job to do, and that's winning football games. I'm up to that task. It's hard when you have emotional attachments. That happened with Benji, happened with Joe (Webb), happened with a couple of guys. I took it hard, but at the end of the day, life goes on.

"There's still going to be football on Sunday. It's gone. It's done. It's over with. It's time for us to move on, hard as it may be. We've still got a football game to play. As a unit, we're going to be better from this because we all have faith in this whole process."

Coach Ron Rivera

“I think the way the veterans look at things – is what you’re doing helping the football team? And that’s what we believe we are doing.

“We haven’t stretched the field this year, and I think there are some things that compound what we want to do as far as running the football. Not being able to stretch the field has been part of the reason why we’ve seen so many eight- and nine-man boxes.

“(Speed) gets people to back off a little bit. We have to do something to help alleviate the pressure that’s being put on the offense to run the ball.”

Bills make last-second trade for Panthers receiver Kelvin Benjamin

Russell Shepard

“It surprised everyone in this building, it surprised some of the people on the coaching staff. It just shows you that as much of a game this is, it’s also a business and some decisions come from left field.

“Kelvin Benjamin was an amazing teammate. He was guy that came in everyday and worked his butt off. It’s been an honor to see him develop and grow. Since seeing him come in the league in 2014, I’ve been a big fan of his and it was a great opportunity to be a teammate of his. He played a part in me coming here and learning some things, and helping him grow in certain aspects of his game. I think it’s similar to what they went through in 2015. Different situation, but you had a 1,000-yard receiver, very productive, go down, and others guy had to step up and take the reins. I think we’ll be asking guys to expand their roles and do things we haven’t asked them to do this year. I think it’ll be a great situation for a lot of us young guys.”

Ed Dickson

"It’s business. We can’t be upset; we can’t let it affect the next day. We had a Wednesday practice today and we did pretty good out there. My message as a veteran player to the younger guys is that there’s a spot open. Are you going to sit there and dwell on it or go out there and take advantage of an opportunity? I use an example of myself. Unfortunately, it came off the eve of Greg (Olsen) being hurt, but you need to take advantage of the opportunity. Everything happens for a reason.”

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