Big crowds are expected at Bank of America Stadium, as it will be Newton's first time starting for the Panthers at the stadium since 2019. The game will see former Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera return to the Queen City. Also if the odds are in Newton's favor, a touchdown from the superstar will mark his first at the stadium since Nov. 25, 2018.
When asked Friday if Newton will make his first start with the Panthers, head coach Matt Rhule said Newton would "take the first snap." Rhule also said P.J. Walker, who started against Arizona, will be active in Sunday's game against Washington.
Rhule didn't elaborate on Newton's progress, but the 2015 NFL MVP has been taking first-team reps at practice all week. Rhule said Newton would be preparing to start with Walker available if he's not up to speed with the offense by Sunday.
"We have plays for Cam, plays for P.J.," Rhule said. "P.J., we think is an excellent quarterback. Cam can make a difference, so we'll use both of them."
Newton also said Thursday that he will give away 50 tickets to Sunday's game.
"To the people who have rarely been to a game, or have never been to a game, this Sunday is important for us," Newton said. "We need to reclaim Bank of America Stadium.
Newton scored two touchdowns in his Panthers return last week, including one on his first play in the game. His presence gave Carolina a spark that led them to defeat Arizona 34-10 on the road. The Panthers (5-5) are currently in a wildcard spot in the NFC playoff race.
Newton last started for the Panthers in Week 2 of 2019, where he aggravated a foot injury against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He spent the 2020 season with New England before he was cut in August.
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