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Cam Newton Sticks Up for Panthers’ Receivers, Offensive Line, Himself

We’ll have a full writeup on this later, but for now, here are transcribed highlights of Cam Newton’s meeting with the media after Wednesday’s OTA practice. The Panthers’ quarterback defended his receivers, his offensive line and even himself in one of the his better press conferences since he’s been in Carolina.

On outside criticism of the Panthers’ receivers:

“The elephant in the room has already been stated. Those guys have already accepted the challenge. You don’t need to go in there and tell those guys, ‘Hey, you’re projected to be the sorriest receivers in the NFL. We already know. But with that, those guys got that fire in their eyes. I would rather those guys be like that and for them to go out there and bust their tails like they have been doing. It’s kind of like a slap in not only their faces, but my face as well. The things that’s been said, the reports, who cares? Because at the end of the day, we will be ready to play football … These guys are motivated. Not saying that Steve, not saying that Brandon, not saying that Ted or Dom was not motivated. I feel as if last year they didn’t have the circumstances that they have this year … The things that they’re saying this year is the utmost disrespect … It’s actually as if you’re being picked up from the street and saying, ‘Hey, you want to play receiver?’ But we accept the challenge. We have fun with it. That’s our chip on our shoulder. That’s the Panther way. Not having the silver spoon in our mouth … I’m watching on the sideline, extremely excited to get back there on the field to work with my receiving corps, my running backs, my line.”

On outside criticism of the Panthers’ left tackle options:Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 3.07.21 PM

“I have full confidence in Nate Chandler. I have full confidence in Byron Bell … Everybody has the opportunity to do something great. How foolish of us for that opportunity to slip right through our hands without making the most of it.”

On his rehab pace:

“Physically, I’m on pace to be right where I want to be. Mentally, I’m bored. Watching film, going over those things becomes monotonous, but I know it’s making me better … I’m feeling even more motivated or confident that when the time that I say I’m ready to go, it won’t be no setbacks. It’ll be 100 percent … Some days I wake up and I’m like, ‘Ok, I’m 100 percent.’ And as I’m walking to work and hit one stone, and it twists the wrong way, you’re always reminded — humbly reminded — that, ‘Oh my God, it hurts.’ It’s always something that reminds you that you’re still not 100 percent, but that’s even added juice to keep going to push to say, ‘I need to get back as soon as possible.'”

On Brandon LaFell’s recent comments about the Patriots working harder than the Panthers:

“If that’s how he feels, then that’s how he feels. What do you want me to tweet, call him or text him? At the end of the day, I’m extremely happy for Brandon to get the opportunity to support his family. But Brandon’s not with the Carolina Panthers no more. We’re friends, but when it comes time for us to play them, we’ll see … I will always say I beg to differ … I’m not going to get in piss rant saying, ‘Well you said that, so I’m going to say this.’ The Carolina Panther way is we don’t do too much talking … We don’t have time to do those things. We’re trying to get better each and every day.”

On his relationship with Kelvin Benjamin:

“Me and Benji have connected in ways that — some good — he always finds a way to mention Florida State — that’s the bad. I feel like he’s going to push me. Not verbally, but, it’s taken my leadership, my role, higher. Here’s a guy we drafted in the first round. I don’t have the luxury of having a veteran receiver, supposedly, to my left. I had Steve for a long time who helped me out a lot … Now I’ve got a lot of new guys that are new to this offense, so my leadership has to rise, and I have to accept this challenge. So I’m embracing this role and it’s making me better. It’s nothing for us to go get anything to eat. It’s nothing for us to hang out and talk about life issues, as well as on the field issues as well. We’re in here together. We’re teammates now, but our relationship goes farther than the field … My job is to be the best leader so that when I go in that huddle and look at everybody specifically, they have no doubt in their minds that Cam Newton is going to lead us down and get six points.”

On Colin Kaepernick’s new contract and an NFL Network report that it “scares people who know Cam Newton very well”:

“Who’s terrified? Nobody’s terrified. I’m not terrified of nothing … I actually texted him and told him he deserved it. For a person to do what he’s done in this league, up to this point, he deserves to get paid. And for me, that’s the last thing on my mind. First thing is trying to get little ankie right. I’m not worried about no money … My obligation is to be 100%. No limping, no gimping, no grimacing or nothing come time for me to be on that practice field.”


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