Bills coach responds to Benjamin's criticism of Newton

After Buffalo Bills wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin ripped his former teammate, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, in an interview earlier this weekend, several people responded on Sunday, including Newton himself.

However, the strongest words came from Benjamin's current head coach, Sean McDermott.

"There's a time and a place -- I'm not saying specific to what comments were made -- there's a time and place for things like that," the Bills coach told ESPN of Benjamin's comments. "This was not one of them. We have a lot of respect for our opponents, No. 1, and everyone in the league. I've spoken with Kelvin, and that's not how I want us to handle things like that. So we'll move forward as a team, and I'm hoping we've already done that."

As for Newton, he was far less interested in an exchange with his former receiver.

In a video posted to Instagram, Newton appeared to refer to Benjamin's comments when he said, "Hey, I ain't going to go back and forth with him. I'm just going to work. You feel me? That's all it is, you know what it is. Just work, baby."

Panthers head coach Ron Rivera told the media at Carolina camp he wouldn't talk about Benjamin, "just because he's not one of our players. ... I'll talk about our players and what we have here. It's time to move on."

Benjamin told the media Sunday he doesn't plan on reaching out to Newton.

"No, man, I'm just moving on. I'm just moving on," he said.

In a Q&A on Friday with The Athletic, Benjamin said, "I mean, I felt like I would've been even more successful if ... I don't know, man ... If I would've ... Looking back on it, I should've just been drafted by somebody else. I should've never went to Carolina. Truly, I just think Carolina was bad for me. It was a bad fit from the get-go.

"If you would've put me with any other quarterback, let's be real, you know what I'm saying? Any other accurate quarterback like (Aaron) Rodgers or Eli Manning or (Ben Roethlisberger) -- anybody! -- quarterbacks with knowledge, that know how to place a ball and give you a better chance to catch the ball. It just felt like I wasn't in that position."

The Panthers drafted Benjamin in the first round in 2014. Newton has not posted a completion rate better than 60 percent since 2013. The year Newton was named NFL Most Valuable Player (2015) with a 59.8 percent completion percentage, Benjamin missed the whole season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

After receiving some criticism for his comments on Saturday, Benjamin defended himself on Twitter, writing, "I'm just crazy then !!! I was the one who buried my mom and skip the grievance process to get back and help that team .... let be real it's was all fake .. and to be honest i was salty Who wouldn't be .... I just ben holding it all in. And now I'm free. Hate me or love me."

Part of a tremendous 2014 draft class of wideouts that included Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans, Sammy Watkins, Brandin Cooks, Jarvis Landry, Davante Adams and Allen Robinson, Benjamin also told The Athletic he believes he would surpass them all if given the proper environment.

"I feel like I'm the best one that came out of that class," he said. "They were just put in better opportunities to have success. If you notice, at the end of the day, my rookie year I was the only one to get to the playoffs. Nobody else went to the playoffs. I'm the only one that helped my team go to the playoffs."

Benjamin caught 168 of 314 targets (53.5 percent) for 2,424 yards and 18 touchdowns in 40 games (36 starts) in Carolina.

The 27-year-old was traded to the Bills on Halloween last year for third- and seventh-round picks. He missed two games while battling an injury but finished with 16 catches on 27 targets (59.3 percent) for 217 yards and one touchdown in six games in Buffalo.

AJ McCarron, the current leader in the Bills' quarterback battle, has a career completion percentage of 64.7 percent in 133 attempts, and he hit on 66.9 percent of throws in college at Alabama. Nathan Peterman completed just 24 of 49 passes (49 percent) as a rookie last season after finishing his college career at 60.1 percent.

Bills first-round pick Josh Allen completed 56.2 percent of his throws in two-plus seasons at Wyoming.

--Field Level Media