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‘Let’s get to work’; Cam Newton talks return, gratitude of being back with the Carolina Panthers

In Newton’s nine seasons with the Panthers, he threw for 29,041 yards and 182 touchdowns, and ran for 58 touchdowns.
Published: Nov. 12, 2021 at 1:40 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 12, 2021 at 3:26 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Quarterback Cam Newton spoke to the media Friday afternoon after signing a contract to return to the Carolina Panthers.

On Thursday, the Carolina Panthers announced the return of Newton, bringing the former No. 1 overall pick back to Charlotte.

Ian Rapoport with NFL Network reports that the Panthers are giving Cam Newton a one-year deal worth up to $10 million for the rest of year. It includes $4.5 million fully guaranteed and a $1.5 million roster bonus.

In his first press conference back, Newton says the biggest impact he wants to bring to the team is accountability. He also said he wants to bring the pride back to Carolina.

“Honestly, I’m still floating,” Newton said of his return to the Panthers. “But it’s not about me. It’s about being an additional piece to this team and that’s where I plan on keeping it.”

Newton says he has so much gratitude being signed.

“So much gratitude. Not saying I didn’t have gratitude before, but this just hits different,” Newton said. “God has granted me an opportunity a lot of people don’t get.”

Even though there’s a sense of excitement and joy with Cam’s return to the Carolinas, the quarterback said the objective is to win games. Newton mentioned that he has been staying off of social media, but he understands people are excited.

““You know why I’m here. This ain’t for no ploy, no ticket sales or Cinderella story. It’s to win football games,” Newton said. “I just want everybody to know who is a part of the Panthers nation, I receive it. But this ain’t no parade. Let’s get to work.”

When asked about his feelings regarding his release from the Panthers in 2020, Newton called all the things of his past “irrelevant” and that he had a good conversation with Head Coach Matt Rhule.

“We had an unbelievable conversation. He told me what his expectations were. It’s my job to execute what those expectations are,” Newton said.

Newton expressed being happy and says he’s in a really good place right now.

“A lot of times, your message can get misconstrued. Did I feel a certain type of way? absolutely. But I’m just glad those decisions didn’t go into this type of decision,” Newton said.

Newton’s off-the-field impact has been just as powerful as what he has been able to do on the field. Some of what he does is public and promoted, but not all of his actions extend to the public light. There are plenty of memories on and off the field that characterize his time in Charlotte and there is plenty he has been remembered for over his previous years with the Panthers organization.

When asked about his charity work in Charlotte, Newton says he promises that he will continue to give back to the community.

Newton also spoke on his time with the New England Patriots.

“I’d be a fool to not take what I learned in other organizations and apply it here,” Newton said.

He ended the press conference with this quote.

“Without further ado, I’ll say something I’ve been wanting to say for a long time “Keep Pounding,” Newton concluded.

General manager Scott Fitterer says Newton officially passed his physical and signed his contract.

“Cam is coming in here to play. When you have competition like that it makes everyone raise their game,” Fitterer said.

The Panthers tweeted this video Thursday with the caption “Brought him home”. Newton retweeted a similar video from his own account.

Panthers head coach Matt Rhule said he spoke with Newton on the phone Tuesday night about a return and Newton “emphatically” said yes.

“This isn’t about anything other than winning,” Rhule said. “Our fans aren’t paying money to watch us win in two years. At the same time, you’re trying to build a Super Bowl-caliber team. So it’s a balancing act of doing what’s right long term and trying to win at the same time. Many times those are the same thing.”

In an article titled “Why the Panthers brought back Cam Newton”, Panthers.com says signing their former QB1 “gives them an opportunity to stabilize their offense at a time when so many other things are going well, and the playoffs are still a realistic possibility with nearly half the season remaining.”

“There are no guarantees the 32-year-old Newton could be a long-term answer. But this isn’t about the years to come, or the things he’s done in the past. This is about now, and maximizing the opportunity for the 2021 Panthers,” a Panthers.com article read.

Newton dealt with injuries, including shoulder surgery during his previous tenure with the team but Fitter says his shoulder checked out okay on Thursday.

“Maybe he loses a step here (and there), but he makes up for it with his mind. His game has evolved. He has really grown into it,” Fitterer said. “He works hard at it, he’s a professional.”

With starter Sam Darnold out four to six weeks with a shoulder injury, the Panthers’ only other quarterbacks on the active roster were P.J. Walker and recently acquired Matt Barkley.

Rhule said Walker will still start on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals and it’s uncertain whether Newton will be active. Fitterer that Rhule will make that decision.

“Cam is just smart. He can just translate so it should pretty quickly,” Rhule said.

When asked about what he saw in Newton to bring him back, Rhule simply said “the tape.”

“Sometimes you just need a chance to get healthy and he had a chance to truly get healthy,” Rhule said. “So, I’m excited to see what he does.”

If Newton doesn’t play Sunday, his first game would come against the Washington Football Team at Bank of America Stadium on Nov. 21.

Reports began to surface Thursday morning when Charlotte Observer reporter Jonathan M Alexander broke the news that Newton would meet with head coach Matt Rhule, owner David Tepper and vice president of football operations Steven Drummond.

The 32-year-old quarterback has been a free agent since the New England Patriots released him in August.

In Newton’s nine seasons with the Panthers, he threw for 29,041 yards and 182 touchdowns, and ran for 58 touchdowns. He’s the team’s all-time leader in all three categories, and he’s also third on the team’s all-time rushing list with 4,806 yards.

Newton won the NFL offensive rookie of the year award in 2011, and NFL MVP in 2015, when he led the team to a 15-1 record and the Super Bowl.

He’s also the NFL’s all-time leader in rushing touchdowns by a quarterback with 70,

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