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Cam Newton speaks to the media for 1st time since rejoining Panthers

Cam Newton discussed why he signed with the Panthers, his mentality coming in and what it felt like talking to Matt Rhule for the first time since being cut in 2020.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — In case you haven't heard, Cam Newton is once again a member of the Carolina Panthers after he signed a one-year deal with the team this week. 

Newton's return was met with widespread praise from Panthers fans, who feel energized for the first time since the team was 3-0 earlier this season. The 32-year-old spent his first nine years with the Panthers, including his MVP-winning campaign in 2015 that led to the Panthers' second Super Bowl appearance. 

Super Cam was cut by the Panthers in March of 2020 following shoulder surgery. He spent last season with the New England Patriots before he was released in August. The Panthers, meanwhile, played musical chairs at quarterback with Teddy Bridgewater, P.J. Walker and Sam Darnold each starting games the past two years. Darnold was placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury Friday.

On Friday, Newton repeatedly said it was "irrelevant" what happened in the past and said his return is strictly about winning games, not a victory lap for Cam Newton in Charlotte. 

"This ain't no ploy for ticket sales or a Cinderella story," Newton said. "It's to win football games."

Head coach Matt Rhule said Friday that it's "not very likely" Newton plays Sunday but he will travel to Arizona for the game. The team announced that defenders Brian Burns and Frankie Luvu are both questionable for Sunday's game. 

"Cam's just getting started with us so it's much more realistic to shoot for next week," Rhule said. 

Newton took questions from reporters for about 30 minutes Friday, ranging from his mentality about a second run with the Panthers to Taco Tuesday with his kids when Matt Rhule called him. Newton admitted that he missed Rhule's first call and thought somebody was pranking him when Rhule's name popped up on his phone. 

"When we talked it was very exhilarating to hear his voice," Newton said. "I'm happy to be here. We're 4-5 right now. We got a chance on Sunday to become 1-0, and that's all that it is. Speaking on the past is irrelevant, speaking on the future is irrelevant. I'm trying to maximize the present." 

Newton said coming back to Charlotte was like returning home and the fan response has been overwhelming. At the end of the day, though, Newton says results will be what people remember. 

"This could be something special but it's always going to come back to winning. That's what it's all about," he said. "That's why I'm here. This wasn't no apology, 'we did you wrong so let's bring you back.'"

Carolina (4-5), will travel to Arizona to face the 8-1 Cardinals Sunday. Currently, all signs point to P.J. Walker starting, but the team hasn't ruled Newton entirely out from playing limited snaps. Coincidentally, Newton's first career game was in Arizona, where he threw for 422 yards against the Cardinals. 

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