Cam Newton is back with the Carolina Panthers. On Thursday, the Panthers and Newton agreed to contract and will likely be the starting QB sooner than later. When speaking to reporters on Friday, Newton explained why he returned to the team that cut him after the 2019 season.
"When you thought about the question, you ask yourself personally, 'What are you looking to in a team?' One of them, not in no particular order, are they a contender?" Newton said, per NFL.com. "Two is what's the chances, do you have a realistic opportunity to be so late in the season to compete? No. 3, what's the skill set around, so you can show your talents as well? Check, check, check. It was a no-brainer, and obviously, there was an added dimension where the familiarity here...
"But once again, I get to the point of everybody wants to make it about Cam's back, this, that and the third. It's really not. It's really ... Look, you know why I'm here, and this ain't for no ploy, this ain't for no ticket sales, this ain't for no Cinderella story. It's to win football games, and that's pretty much what's on my heart and that's how I'm going about it."
Newton spent his first nine seasons (2011-2019) with the Panthers before signing with the New England Patriots in 2020. He played in 15 games last season and completed 65.8% of his passes for 2,657 yards, eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Newton also rushed for 592 yards and 12 touchdowns on 137 carries. He was cut by the Patriots before the start of the 2021 season as rookie quarterback Mac Jones beat him out for the starting position. Newton, who won the NFL MVP award in 2015, now returns to Carolina to take the place of Sam Darnold who is out four to six weeks with a shoulder injury.
"There's an old saying, stay ready so you won't have to get ready, and safe to say I've been staying pretty ready," Newton said. "But it's still a process though ... I think my biggest impact that I want to kind of drive and I want to be driven home is accountability. I'm holding myself accountable to make sure that I do anything coach (Matt) Rhule asks of me, as well as coach Joe (Brady). Making sure that if they can trust me being a trusted teammate then I can hold everybody else accountable."