His general manager, Marty Hurney, was less so. The GM gave a clipped answer about the star quarterback in an interview with Steve Reed of the Associated Press.
"He's rehabbing, that's all I can say," Hurney said, referring to the foot injury that wiped out all but two games in 2019 for Newton.
Hurney then refused to answer several follow-up questions from Reed regarding Newton's future with the team. The GM would not even comment on the QB's declaration during Super Bowl Week that he'd "absolutely" be back in Carolina in 2020.
Perhaps Hurney's decision not to comment isn't rooted in cloak-and-dagger politics. Maybe that decision will ultimately be out of his hands, so why bother remarking? Yet, it's hard to read a GM refusing to comment about a starting QB without raising an eyebrow like you're imitating The Rock.
Generally these types of interviews are all blustery smoke. With the GM saying things like, "We love QB X. He's a great player. He's rehabbing, and we're planning for him to be fully recovered this offseason." Even if they plan to move on later, the hot air fills the void with moisture that is easily brushed past down the road.
Hurney's mum attitude toward Newton's questions peaks more interest than hollow platitudes would have in this instance.
With the Panthers parting ways with the likes of Luke Kuechly retiring and Greg Olsen and other veterans leaving, Carolina could decide to go into full-on rebuild mode under new coach Matt Rhule. Newton is in the final year of his contract, and the Panthers could net $19.1 million in salary-cap space by parting ways. The tenuous nature of the signal-caller's future and multi-years' worth of injuries have led to speculation about his future in Carolina.
That speculation certainly won't die with the GM's refusal to discuss the outlook at the most important position in sports.