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Bridgewater is clear: Winning is goal for Panthers

Teddy Bridgewater is walking through the door out of which Cam Newton just walked.

Understandably, expectations for him should be high, or at least the standard set by Newton remains high. But Bridgewater isn't concerned with filling Newton's shoes.

It wasn't too long ago that Bridgewater was rushed to a hospital with an injury that folks told him would end his career. He's not stressing over replacing someone; he's just happy he has a chance to compete.

"Man, I take pride in this," Bridgewater said, via ESPN. "They told me I wouldn't play football again and I did. They told me it would take 18 months to get back from my injury and I came back fast. They told me I wouldn't win last year and we won five games.

"I take pride in winning. Winning feels good, and that's our goal."

Bridgewater isn't entering an entirely unfamiliar situation in Carolina. He's again teaming up with offensive coordinator Joe Brady, who served on Sean Payton's staff from 2017-2018 and was there when Bridgewater arrived via trade from the New York Jets. Brady brings his own high expectations after helping Joe Burrow post the best season ever for a college quarterback at LSU in 2019.

The two's reunion, a continuation of a relationship that Bridgewater said "clicked right away," could help them hit the ground running, which might be needed if Bridgewater can't get the offseason work in with his coaches and teammates due to the ongoing new coronavirus pandemic. Whenever they do return to the field, though, Bridgewater made it clear he's not trying to replace the man who wore No. 1 in Carolina for close to a decade.

"For me, I just stay within my character," Bridgewater said. "I don't have to be something that I'm not. I just lead by example, which is the way our coaches think.

"I'm a winner. I'm just going to tell you right now I'm a winner and plan on continuing to be one."

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