One week ago, Cam Newton was just a fan.
“I’ll put it like this: this time last week, I was eating a bowl of cereal,” Newton said.
On Sunday, he was playing quarterback for the Panthers, just like old times for the 2011 first overall pick. In the same stadium in which his NFL career began, Newton made his return to the NFL, reminding the league that he can still play.
Newton, 32, entered the game as the backup to P.J. Walker but received seven touches. It was more than enough, as he barreled his way into the end zone for a two-yard score on the Panthers’ first drive of the game.
“I’m back,” Newton said.
He was back — back to scoring touchdowns and igniting the Panthers (5-5) to trounce the Cardinals (8-2) 34-10.
On Newton’s second touch of the game, he threw his first touchdown pass since Week 17 of the 2020 season. This time, it was a two-yard rope to receiver Robby Anderson to give Carolina a 14-0 lead.
One week after getting into a shouting match with quarterback Sam Darnold on the sideline, Anderson was back in the end zone and all smiles.
“I think, like, 1,000 percent,” Anderson said of how much more fun the offense is with Newton involved.
It’s come full circle for Newton, who made it known after the game that the Panthers will “keep pounding.”
“So that just puts things into perspective,” Newton said. “After going to church, being with my children and really not even watching football, it was just about maximizing the person I need to be, and so for that it was just all a rush of emotions.
“But yet I know a lot of people in the media, the titles of the newspapers, the blogs, they want to make it about me, and it’s not about me. And I keep sayin’ this. This was an impeccable team win.”