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Cam Newton: “It’s Been Challenging. Each And Every Level I Have Learned Something”

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While at the Carolina Panthers Training Camp in Spartanburg, SC, Cam Newton talked with WFNZ’s “The Drive” alongside wide receiver veteran Steve Smith about the criticism he’s experienced over the past few years, the chemistry he has formed with his wide receivers, and what he needs to do to be a successful quarterback in the league.

Starting his third training camp with the Panthers, Cam has gained the trust and leadership qualities to make this team great, but in the areas of his own improvement, the quarterback says “it’s simple…it’s a three letter word.”

The Carolina Panthers do need to definitely W-I-N this upcoming season as the team and starting quarterback have a 13-19 record in the past two years even with top playing veterans and incredible young talent including Rookie Defensive Player of the Year Luke Kuechly in 2012.

“We still have the mentality that we have to get better,” says Cam.  “And that’s what you want to see. So for us it’s having a mental approach to the game, and not having a lackadaisical attitude.”

Referring to all of the negative commentary and constant coverage of every move Cam makes both off and on the field, Cam was honest in saying that it can get to him.

“I’d be lying to you if it didn’t get under my skin at least once.  But I realize as I mature as a veteran I realize it’s going to happen.”

Steve Smith, who co-hosts on “The Drive” in the off-season, even got a chance to interview Cam next to him and talk about how Newton has progressed with his leadership skills on the Panthers team.

“A patch does not make you a captain, but it also does not limit you to being a leader, ” says Smith.  “It’s really not what do I see that shown me that he is mature.  It’s ultimately how we handle as a group adversity…and what truly defines competitors is what happens when we win.”

Smith asked Newton, since technically this is the quarterback’s second full training camp due to the NFL Lockout in his first year shortening the practice time, the difference between then and now.

“Communication,” says Cam.  “I think we’re coming to grips and saying ‘The Time Is Now,’ no more excuses…and what do I have to do to make this right so we can both be on the same page.”

Cam Newton even reflected on his maturity level and how being successful on the National Football League level has its pros and cons.

“As an athlete…you’re put at a disadvantage sometimes.  Everybody sees [that] yeah you make a lot of money, yeah you got a lot of fame, yeah you got a lot of fortune.  But at the end of the day, you know we’re still human just like you are…You take the microphone clean from the athlete’s mouth and they say whatever they want to say:  ‘Cam’s just this, yeah his record sucks, he’s not RG III, he’s not a Russell Wilson.”

“People can say whatever they want to say,” says Cam.  “Will it hurt? Temporarily, but at the end of the day I have to question myself and say ‘Hey, is that me?’ or is that the old kindergartener with sticks & stones [phrase].”

Steve Smith jokingly suggested the two players start up a business Twitter account that makes fun of their hater’s job skills so they know how it feels sometimes to be in their shoes taking negative criticism of their performance.

“Girl in Wells Fargo, Line 2, she’s slow…Bag boy on South Boulevard put my bread in with the eggs.”

While everyone knows Cam Newton has the talent, watch the full interview above to see how decision making is another crucial area Cam Newton is working on to make those close games favor the team and 3rd-down conversions successful during the games.  He really wants the Carolina Panthers “Rawr Rawr Rawwwwr” Growl Sound Effect to roar more often for every 1st Down play at Bank Of America Stadium.

CLICK HERE to watch video interviews with other Carolina Panther players including Ryan Kalil, Chase Blackburn, Greg Hardy, and Luke Kuechly. Plus, see more pictures from Training Camp HERE.

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