Panthers bench Cam Newton for opening drive

SEATTLE – Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was benched for the start of Sunday’s game against the Seahawks.

Veteran backup Derek Anderson started in Newton’s place and threw an interception on the first series of the game.

Newton, the reigning NFL MVP, entered the game for the Panthers’ second series.

Panthers’ spokesman Steven Drummond said it was coach Ron Rivera’s decision for Anderson, and not Newton, to start the game, and that the move was not injury related. NBC reported that the move was punishment for a minor violation of a team rule.

It was the first time in Newton’s career that he has not started a game for the Panthers while healthy.

Follow Lindsay H. Jones on Twitter @bylindsayhjones.

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