Panthers Bring Back Cam Newton

Former star quarterback 'loves Charlotte,' coach says
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 11, 2021 4:40 PM CST
Panthers Bring Back Cam Newton
Cam Newton celebrates a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers in September 2016.   (AP Photo/Mike McCarn, File)

Superman has returned. But whether or not Cam Newton can save the Carolina Panthers' sinking season remains to be seen. The Panthers (4-5) have announced they've agreed to a one-year contract with Newton, bringing him back to the franchise that drafted him No. 1 overall in 2011—and later cut him prior to the 2020 season after losing eight straight games. The deal is worth $10 million, including $4.5 million in fully guaranteed money and a $1.5 million roster bonus, said a person familiar with the situation, the AP reports. "A healthy Cam Newton is a special player," Panthers coach Matt Rhule said.

Carolina was in need of a quarterback after an MRI on Monday revealed that starter Sam Darnold would miss at least four weeks with an incomplete fracture of his right shoulder blade. Rhule said that he called Newton on Tuesday night to gauge his interest in returning to Carolina, and that the quarterback was excited about the possibility. "He loves Charlotte. He loves the Carolina Panthers. He made that very clear to me," Rhule said. PJ Walker will start Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals, Rhule said, adding that it's not clear whether Newton will be active because he hasn't practiced yet. Rhule wouldn't say whether Newton will be the starter beyond this week.

Panthers cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who grew up about 30 minutes from Charlotte and played with Newton in New England, spoke to the importance of the quarterback's return. "There's a lot of important people in South Carolina and North Carolina, but Cam Newton is probably right up there at the top two or top one," Gilmore said. In the empty Bank of America Stadium, the scoreboards were lit up with the words, "He's Back." Newton, who arrived Thursday and had his physical exam, spent nine seasons with the Panthers, throwing for 29,041 yards with 182 touchdown passes and 111 interceptions. He won league MVP honors in 2015, and the Panthers made it to Super Bowl 50, which the team lost to the Denver Broncos. He's not been able to return to that MVP level since.

(Read more Cam Newton stories.)

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