NFL

Former NFL MVP Newton: 'There’s not 32 guys better than me'

By Sports Desk June 08, 2022

Cam Newton remains unsigned as NFL teams begin ramping up preparations for the upcoming season, though the 2015 league MVP still feels confident he can be an impact player despite two straight difficult campaigns.

Speaking as a guest on ESPN’s ‘The Pivot Podcast,’ the quarterback attributed his struggles in 2020 and 2021 to putting himself in tough situations during his short stint with the New England Patriots as well as last year’s return to his original team, the Carolina Panthers.

"Before I sit up here and allow the narrative to be made that Cam ain't got it no more, Cam is taking full responsibility and saying Cam put himself in a [messed] up situation, which then had a ricochet effect to how people think of me," Newton said.

"There’s not 32 [quarterbacks] better than me. If you think I couldn't be on somebody's team right now, you're a damn fool."

Newton's career has experienced a downturn since shoulder and foot injuries led to the Panthers releasing their then-franchise face following a 2019 season in which he was limited to just two games.

He signed with the Patriots shortly before training camp opened in 2020 and started 15 games in New England’s first year of the post-Tom Brady era, with mostly mixed results.

The three-time Pro Bowler finished 2020 with eight touchdown passes and 10 interceptions, the first time in Newton’s career he had more picks than TD throws when starting three or more games, and the Patriots went 7-8 in his starts to miss the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

Newton said he was never fully able to grasp a new offense on account of joining New England just two months before that season’s start.

"The New England experience was a [messed up] situation," he remarked. "I was still learning the offense seven to eight weeks into the season.

"It was just brain overload. It was times I was going to the line and I'm still thinking, 'Did I know it?’ Yes. To the degree that I needed to know it to show the world that I'm still Cam Newton? No. But I put myself in that situation."

The Patriots released Newton just prior to the start of last season after turning the offense over to rookie quarterback Mac Jones, and he spent nine weeks as a free agent before rejoining the Panthers in November.

Following a dazzling return in which he rushed for two touchdowns off the bench in Carolina’s Week 10 victory over Arizona, Newton was named the starter the following week but was never able to recapture his early-career form. The 33-year-old lost all five of his starts while completing just 54.1 per cent of his passes and recording a 61.4 passer rating.

"I signed on Thursday. I played on Sunday," Newton said of his Carolina comeback. "At what point did you think you was going to be successful? The next week, I started. That's still under 10 days of you being on the team. And you’re still trying to learn the offense."

Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer said last month that the team has kept in contact with Newton and has not ruled out bringing him back. It’s unclear if the veteran quarterback would agree to another reunion, as he stated h'’s looking for a scenario where he would have sufficient time to learn an offense while surrounded by a strong support system.

“If you’re asking to run this show without your supporting cast upholding their end of the bargain, then you’re always going to be left alone." Newton said.

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