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Tepper on Cam's future: 'It's a question' of health

As the seemingly constant state of rebuild and flux for the Carolina Panthers carries on, the most overwhelming quandary remains unanswered: Will Cam Newton be a Panther in 2020?

During Super Bowl week, Newton said he would be. However, on Tuesday following a charity event that gave a $120,000 mid-year boost to elementary school students and teachers, Panthers owner David Tepper said nothing has been decided and all still hinges upon the health of the former NFL MVP.

"I've said again and again and again about this. It's a question of how healthy he is, foot and otherwise," Tepper said via The Athletic's Jourdan Rodrigue. "And that's still the No. 1 overwhelming thing, to see how healthy he is, and how we can figure out when he's healthy or not. Everything comes from that."

Newton hasn't been seen on the playing field since Week 2 of last season due to a Lisfranc injury, and he ended his campaign on injured reserve for the second consecutive season after shoulder issues cut short his 2018.

Tepper's comments concur with those of general manager Marty Hurney, who previously offered up that Newton was "rehabbing, that's all I can say."

Newton is entering the final year of his current contract ($18.6 million base salary), which comes in the first season under the coaching umbrella of Matt Rhule. It also comes in the aftermath of the retirement of linebacker Luke Kuechly and the departure of tight end Greg Olsen.

So the question continues to linger as to whether the face of the franchise -- at least as it was -- will return for another autumn.

There has been murmurs regarding trades, as well, but when asked if teams had reached out about Newton and if he's available for trade, Tepper replied in the negative.

"I haven't heard about that," he said.

When pressed on whether he believes Newton will be back or not, the party line of health reemerged.

"Listen I'm not a doctor," Tepper said. "I've said it a million times: Is he healthy? And he's not a doctor. So there's a lot of different things that can happen. But first, is he healthy? Tell me that, and then we can talk."

And so the prevailing Panthers question remains.

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