Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is expected to make his preseason debut Thursday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, according to Bill Voth of Panthers.com. Rookie wide receiver/running back Curtis Samuel will also make his debut.
"We'll see how the flow of the game goes and how long he'll play," Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said of Newton, per Tiffany Blackmon of NFL Network.
"I am excited because it will be an opportunity to see [Newton] out there with all the different players we brought in, all the different playmakers that we believe we have," Rivera added, per Voth. "It should be fun."
Newton hasn't played in a game since the close of the 2016 season after undergoing surgery to repair a partially torn rotator cuff this March. Samuel, meanwhile, has been recovering from a strained hamstring.
The rookie wideout is expected to be an important playmaker for the revamped Panthers offense, joining fellow rookie and running back Christian McCaffrey, tight end Greg Olsen and wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin. That has given Newton, the 2015 NFL MVP, the best assortment of weapons he's had in his career.
The team will have that group on the field together for the first time, albeit with one caveat: Newton and Samuel are unlikely to play into the third quarter with the rest of the team's starters.
"We wouldn't take the guys that are coming back and expect them to play all the way into the third quarter," Rivera noted.