On Monday, Carolina Panthers franchise quarterback Cam Newton got into a physical altercation at training camp with cornerback Josh Norman. The scuffle started after Norman picked off a pass attempt from Newton and proceeded to give him a stiff arm right to the helmet. Newton did not take that lightly as he ran Norman down, shoving him, resulting in the pull-apart-brawl, or your typical football fight. It’s not every day that you see a franchise quarterback in the middle of a brawl, as they tend to stay out of them, but that’s not a necessarily a bad thing.
Newton dismissed the whole ordeal and said if the same scenario were to happen, he wouldn’t change a thing on how he reacted. While it is highly uncommon for a player with the stature of Newton to be involved in a practice fight, it’s not that big of deal. This doesn’t do anything to the team overall and Newton addressed the team after practice and let them know he understands his responsibility as to what he has to do in order to help get this team a Super Bowl trophy. This in no way should be a knock to Newton’s leadership. If anything, this should be an enhancing thing about his leadership, as he was upset with how the play went and then the stiff arm to the helmet, then challenged the guy who gave him the shot he didn’t like and that player responded. Newton and Norman had been chirping at each other for a couple of days and it finally escalated to the scuffle. As for Norman, he should not take any flak from this, as he stepped up and didn’t back down, going toe-to-toe with a franchise quarterback. Norman should be gaining even more respect from his teammates. Newton said there are no hard feelings between him and Norman, nor should there be. This is an NFL training camp, where guys do get sick of one another from an on-field perspective.
The incident was blown way out of proportion by the media due to the stature of Newton, who is a franchise quarterback with a lot to prove thus far. During practices, quarterbacks wear red jerseys to let the defense know not to hit them, but Newton embraces the contact. He rushes the ball over 10 times a game and isn’t one of the smaller quarterbacks in the league, as he stands 6’5″ and weighs 245 pounds. Newton said he’s not like most redshirted players and wants to take on the contact. Now it may seem odd that a franchise quarterback – Newton signed a 5-year/$103.8 million contract in June – would be so physical, but that’s the kind of player he is. He’s not your typical franchise quarterback where there is an unwritten blueprint as to how they should act on and off the field. Is that a bad thing? Absolutely not. Newton wants to stand out and be his own person and quarterback and quite frankly, there should be nobody raising any question to this. Sure, coaches and front office personnel don’t want to see their franchise guy get into any physical altercation, but those things happen in camp.
Newton and the Panthers will travel to Buffalo for their first preseason game of the year this Friday. This will be good for Carolina as they can finally hit somebody who isn’t wearing the same colors as them.
As for Newton, there is no need to worry about his maturity, leadership, or overall performance at the quarterback position.