Cam focused on football, not injuries, ahead of opener

Injuries have followed Cam Newton all throughout the offseason; the Panthers quarterback went under the knife to correct a shoulder injury in January and was recently diagnosed with a mid-foot sprain.

But on Wednesday, Newton was nowhere to be seen on Carolina's first injury report of the season ahead its Week 1 opener against the Los Angeles Rams.

Asked about the mid-foot injury that sidelined him during the Panthers' third preseason game, Newton said he wasn't looking back.

"I'm focused on the Rams," Newton told reporters. "I don't want to dwell on something that's irrelevant or what doesn't need to be talked about. Excited about the matchup on Sunday. Really looking forward to playing four quarters of football."

Cam's progression this offseason was marked by small steps back to the field, from throwing off to the side to showing off his new throwing motion with footballs, from returning to padded practice to starting Carolina's preseason tilt. Now fully healthy, Newton feels like a new man and thankful to be with the Panthers for a ninth professional season.

"I feel like a rookie again. I'm having fun, feeling good and the thrill is still there, man," Newton said. "I'm blessed, just knowing that, man, you just got to sometimes put things into perspective. Just two or three weeks, two or three days ago, grown men cried, you know what I'm saying? People getting unexpectedly cut, released, traded or whatever. I'm just lucky to be a part of a fan base and organization for the same nine years. A lot of people can't say the same."

In addition to his lengthy rehab, Newton is chalking up his recovery from his shoulder and foot injuries to a change in diet.

"Of course, vegan strong. That helps a lot," Newton said. "I've been vegan all year. And I don't think I'm going back. Feel good. I recover well and that's what it's pretty much all about."

Whatever Newton is putting in his body, Carolina is hoping the quarterback eats up up a Rams defense this Sunday, one he hasn't played since Sean McVay and Wade Phillips took the reins in 2017. That unit has surrendered just one QB rushing game over 49 yards (Russell Wilson in Week 10, 2018) and just one QB rushing touchdown (Brian Hoyer in Week 3, 2017).

If Newton is truly healthy, his ability to move in and out of the pocket against Aaron Donald's Rams front will be the proving ground on Sunday. But that's for us to focus on. Newton's focus will be on the field, not on what kept him off the field for months this spring.