CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Panthers coach Ron Rivera believes dynamic rookie quarterback Cam Newton is deserving of the Pro Bowl.
He's not alone.
Newton ranks third in the fan balloting at quarterback in the NFC behind Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees, two players who are viewed as locks to make the team. Three quarterbacks from each conference are selected to participate in the Pro Bowl.
Rivera says "in light of everything he's gone through the young man has proven himself."
Newton set a league record this season for touchdown runs by a quarterback with 13 and is needs just 167 yards passing to break Peyton Manning's rookie passing record. He ranks ninth in the NFC in passing efficiency and should receive heavy competition from Matt Ryan, Tony Romo, Matthew Stafford and Alex Smith.