When Newton landed at No. 40 on the NFL Network's "Top 100: Players of 2012", we viewed it as a reflection of the quarterback's value both inside Carolina's locker room and out. He appears to understand his impact.
"I didn't really come out and say I was a bad teammate," Newton told NFL Network's Jeff Darlington on Thursday. "It was just some things I feel like I could have done differently. I think that's my overall maturation in Year 2. Just analyzing what I did last year, some things that were good, some things that were unacceptable, and I just pointed out the things that were unacceptable and things I'm working on this offseason."
Newton seeks maturity and has made strides on that front.
Example: He held his tongue in the face of the Alex Smith firestorm after the San Francisco 49ers quarterback cited Newton to decry NFL passing yards as overrated. "Cam Newton threw for a lot of 300-yard games, that's great," Smith said. "You're not winning, though."
Newton could have responded, but he let the drama ride out. Instead of defending his work from last season -- and there's no need to -- Newton is staring down the road.
"Just being accountable of my actions, that's one," he told Darlington. "Two, just being a trusted teammate, not moping on the past because the past can't do anything for you. Focusing on the future. But that's neither here nor there. That's things I can do on the field. But off the field, that's kind of a given, making the next step."