Cam Newton was out of commission for the past couple of months after the New England Patriots decided to go in a different direction at quarterback.
But with Newton a free agent and looking for a place to compete again, it seemed possible that he might end up right back where he started in 2011, with the Panthers, and that scenario became a reality Thursday when the three-time Pro Bowl selection signed with Carolina.
So, why exactly did Newton rejoin the team that once drafted him No. 1 overall?
“When you (think) about the question, you ask yourself personally, ‘What are you looking (for) in a team?,’ Newton said Friday during a news conference. “One of them, in no particular order, is, ‘Are they a contender?’ Number two is … ‘Do you have a realistic opportunity to be so late in the season to compete?’ And number three, ‘What’s the skill set around?’ So you can show your talents, as well.
“Check, check, check, and it was a no-brainer.”
Newton, who spent the 2020 season with New England, also acknowledged there was an easy extra dimension in his decision, given the familiarity of having already played in Carolina.
“You know why I’m here. This ain’t for no ploy, this ain’t for no ticket sales, this ain’t for no Cinderella story,” Newton said. “It’s to win football games, and that’s pretty much what’s on my heart and that’s how I’m going about it.”
Although Newton might not play in Week 10 against the Arizona Cardinals, he’ll likely return to the gridiron soon enough, at which point he’ll be trying to lead the Panthers to the playoffs.