NFL fans will have to get used to seeing Cam Newton in a different uniform next season after he was released by the Carolina Panthers in March. Newton had his share of injuries during the last couple of seasons, but he was arguably the best quarterback in franchise history. Panthers head coach Matt Rhule appeared on Charlotte radio station WFNZ on Tuesday and explained why the team moved on from the No. 1 overall pick.
"We've addressed it a bunch," he said. "We did what we thought was right. We did what we thought was right for the future. And we're going to have to do that year in and year out. this is a game of change. This is a game of turnover. All you can do is do things the right way. All you can do is tell people as best you can tell them. You have to give them hard news in this business." Because of what Newton did for the Panthers the last nine years, the team did receive some backlash for the move. Rhule was asked about the fans not being supportive of their decision.
"That’s what makes fans great, right? They love the players," Rhule said. "And Carolina is a place probably moreso than many fanbases that really, really love their players. Go back over the years, when players have left it’s been really bittersweet. I grew up in a different part of the country, players came and players left, it was different. Here, fans hold onto those things."
"For us not to do what we think is right would not be good about the organization or franchise in the future," Rhule continued. "That's not just about one position, I'm just saying that about everything. We're going to have to be disciplined and make hard, tough decisions each and every year. That's the only way you can win championships."
Newton is still a free agent and it's uncertain when he will sign with another team. On Instagram, Newton said "they gave up on me" after being cut by the Panthers. He also talked to NBA star Chirs Paul on Instagram Live and talked about being a free agent for the first time in his NFL career.
"I really have taken this time to become stronger mentally, physically and spiritually," Newton said. "I think that's more important than anything, man. I've gained this interest in meditating every morning. And it's time for me, where I'm a fish out of water. I've never not known anything other than the Carolina Panthers, and now it's like I want God to direct my path and put me in a position where I can thrive and be myself. But on top of that, it's still [about] becoming better."