Good luck finding someone who doubts Cam Newton's physical gifts. Entering his third NFL campaign, the Carolina Panthers quarterback has the tools to match any passer in the league. But it's his leadership that has come under fire.
Newton told NFL Network's Sterling Sharpe on Friday's "Inside Training Camp Live" that he's ready to go next level when it comes to guiding Carolina out of the wilderness.
"It's no more excuses on my part," Newton said. "First year is gone, second year is gone. Now, I'm considered somewhat of a veteran to these guys, you know, so taking accountability on this offense and on this team is big for me, and that's what I wanted to come back and (have as) one of my staples to get better."
Newton's occasionally cranky body language -- especially in losing situations -- has tweaked teammates and media types alike. Take, for example, his habit of draping a towel over his head on the bench. Michael Jordan did the same for seasons on end, but M.J. won titles. Newton's been killed for it, and he isn't certain why.
"I have no clue, I have no clue, but this is something that I've always done. Always done," Newton said. "I did it at Auburn, did it at junior college ... did it in high school. So, you know, I hate that it's something for people to look at and say, 'Oh, he's got bad body language. He's just pouting under the towel.' A lot of guys have their trends ... my thing is a towel."
Newton, perhaps unfairly, has been picked apart for quirks more minor than towel-draping over the past two seasons. There are fewer commentaries about his development as a player -- something we saw down the stretch last season -- but one thing can change all that: "We just gotta win," Newton said. "We just gotta win."
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