By Ted Fleming
For what it’s worth, Cam Newton admitted something after Wednesday’s practice that may or may not come as a surprise, depending on your point of view. Covering a wide range of subjects from social media to preparing for the Bears, the 23-year old quarterback seemed relaxed as he talked to the media for the first time since Sunday.
“This is not my repertoire right here,” he said, maybe not using the right word to get his point across, but everyone got it, that he is not comfortable in front of a microphone. “My sanctuary is out there (the field) and that’s where I have to excel at.”
Newton was lauded as a rookie and has seen his share of criticism in his sophomore campaign. It is clearly rooted in his team’s 1-5 start and despite that, he doesn’t hold any grudges for what is being written and talked about.
“I can’t blame a reporter, I can’t get mad at how people view me behind the podium because I’m a football player, that’s all it comes down to,” he said, although he did not want to address the comments he made after the loss to the Cowboys. “I think we’re going to keep Sunday’s conversation Sunday’s conversation. I’m not going back to what I said. I’m living in the future. My main focus is trying to do every single thing I can to prepare myself for the Chicago Bears.”
His body language spoke volumes, possibly a realization that he came off as being indifferent to his own problems while suggesting others might have been at fault. It was also a time for reflection knowing he, personally, has not come close to meeting expectations.
“What I do know is a lack of me getting the job done on the field. My accuracy has to get better. I’ve improved but at times it still has to click on all cylinders. When plays are given and the protection breaks down, instead of me running I have to have faith and trust in my offense to either check the ball down to my tight end or running back. They’re getting paid just like I am.” Newton’s ability to run is well documented but he has been knocked for not adjusting to teams as they have adapted to his style of play.
There was an elephant in the room and you knew Newton would eventually be asked about the firing of the Panthers GM, something he avoided like the plague the day before.
“I got a full dose of what this business is like on Monday,” he said. “Obviously Marty Hurney, coach (Ron) Rivera and Mr. (Jerry) Richardson gave me the opportunity of being the first pick in the draft. We all knew going into this process that it would be up and down type of ride, more so than not. There were some things I could have done for Marty to keep his job. Am I going to say what I could have done? No, but knowing the role I have on this team I could have done something. I’m talking about my play on the field.
“I have the utmost respect for a man like that, such a high character guy and moving forward I hope we’ll keep in contact.”
What Newton did was open the door, albeit just a bit, into his personal world and he did so with relative ease. There was an air of calm to the 15-plus minute press conference and while he didn’t completely make everyone forget the past, it was a good start toward Sunday – and the rest of the season.
Of bumps and bruises: The injury bug claimed another victim when it was announced that linebacker Jon Beason had been placed on injured reserve becoming the latest starter who will miss the rest of the season.
Of ghouls and goblins: There was a brief moment when Newton flashed that patented ear-to-ear grin when joking with a reporter who said he would like to see him come to practice someday with green hair, like basketball Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman. Although he might have left that door open as a prank because Halloween is approaching.
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Ted Fleming is a freelance writer covering all things Carolina Panthers. His work can be found on Examiner.com.