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Cam Newton: 'My job is not to lobby for my health'

Awarded the spotlight this week by his coaches, teammates and parents, who all believed he was taking an unfair amount of hits for his position, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton opted to shift the discussion toward winning instead.

"My job is to win football games. My job is not to lobby for my health," Newton said Wednesday when asked by reporters about the controversy surrounding his Week 1 loss to the Broncos. "I feel as if there's been times that I've been taking hits, they haven't been called. But that's understandable. Sometimes I've been hit and they have been called. So I just can't point a finger and say I haven't got no calls because I have.

"And also, just the overall health part with having the best training staff in the league in my opinion. I haven't had the opportunity to see any others but in my eyes they're the best."

Newton was then asked if he was concerned about his long-term health. Doctors determined Newton did not suffer a concussion when he suffered helmet-to-helmet hits by the Broncos' Brandon Marshall and Darian Stewart during Thursday's loss. Both Marshall and Stewart were fined by the NFL on Wednesday.

"I'm worried about winning. That's it. Winning. Winning football games," he said. "That's why I'm here. I'm not here to worry about retirement plans. I'm not here to worry about pensions. I'm not here to worry about workers comp. I'm here to win football games. Simple and plain. This is a contact sport. This is a physical sport. I play the game for the right reasons to whatever coach asks me to do, I'm gonna do it, to win football games."

He ended the line of questioning as quickly as possible.

"Listen, I see where this is going. We're dwelling on something that I don't want to dwell on. My focus is San Francisco 49ers' defense," he said. "NaVorro Bowman and the team that shut out the Los Angeles Rams. I gain nothing by talking about the past."

Unfortunately, Newton is right. The Panthers might have accomplished all they are going to accomplish on the matter this week when both coach Ron Rivera and tight end Greg Olsen raised their concerns about Newton being treated more like a running back than a quarterback. The issue is now on the radar of every official working the game. The hits prompted a response from Dean Blandino, the NFL vice president of officiating, who admitted that the Marshall hit on Newton took should have been a penalty.

"It's basically the posture will dictate his protection," Blandino said on *NFL Total Access*. "So if he's in running posture, ball tucked, advancing it as a runner, he's treated like a runner and he doesn't get special protection. If he's in a passing posture, whether he's inside the pocket/outside the pocket, he's still going to get passer protection -- head, neck, crown to the body -- those types of protection. So it's the posture that dictates the protection."

Newton is smart enough to know that anything he says could be interpreted by the masses as a player complaining about a game he lost, while he freely doles out punishment to smaller defenders as an open-field runner. It will be interesting to see how he interprets the words of Blandino moving forward, or if Rivera will advise his quarterback to better protect himself. Newton is physically the most unique and individually dominant player in the NFL, and the Panthers would not be the same if he sustained a long-term injury.

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