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Panthers quarterback Cam Newton returns to practice for 1st time since March 19 ankle surgery

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    Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton drops back to pass during a drill at NFL football minicamp in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, June 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)The Associated Press

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    Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton stretches during NFL football practice Wednesday, June 18, 2014 in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)The Associated Press

  • Panthers Camp Football-3.jpg

    Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton stretches during NFL football practice Wednesday, June 18, 2014 in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)The Associated Press

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton practiced for the first time since undergoing ankle surgery on March 19.

Newton worked in 7-on-7 drills during the team's final day of minicamp practice Thursday.

Newton says he felt sluggish on his first day back, adding, "My mind was moving faster than my body, but that all comes with time."

Newton says he's yet not near 100 percent yet, but "any progress is good progress."

He expects to be close to full speed when training begins July 25.

Coach Ron Rivera said Newton was cleared to practice medically Wednesday, but none of Newton's teammates knew he'd practice when they took the field Thursday. Rivera said he felt it was important for Newton to practice once before the start of training camp.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org