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NFL

Cam Newton: Panthers QB back with a bang against the Cardinals

"I'm baaack!" Quarterback Cam Newton is back in a Panthers uniform again and he is making his presence known, scoring two touchdown drives in eight minutes.

Update:
"I'm baaack!" Quarterback Cam Newton is back in a Panthers uniform again and he is making his presence known, scoring two touchdown drives in eight minutes.
Kelsey GrantAFP

Cam Newton played his first game back again in a Carolina Panthers uniform today against the Arizona Cardinals and it wasn’t long before his presence was felt.

Newton's loud return to the Panthers

Playing in the same stadium where he made his NFL debut 10 years ago, Cam Newton was right at home. The 32-year-old scored on his very first play back with the team on a two-yard run and a leap over linebacker Isaiah Simmons, giving the Panthers an early lead over the Falcons.

After his first touchdown run, Newton took off his helmet and yelled into the crowd, “I’m back! I’m back!” He even handed the football to a young fan in the bleachers like he always used to do during his nine-year stint with the Panthers. Because the NFL is anti-fun, they flagged him for unsportsmanlike conduct for the celebration.

Unfazed, moments later, he threw a two-yard touchdown pass to Robby Anderson, putting the Panthers up 14-0 in the first quarter. The former MVP appears to be motivated to earn a permanent spot on the Panthers team. He returned to the team on Thursday on a one-year deal after it was learned that quarterback Sam Darnold would be out for at least four to six weeks with a shoulder injury.

The stakes

Sunday’s game against the Cardinals is sort of like a trial to see if he does well enough for the Panthers to consider re-signing him to start in 2022. He was released in 2020 when it was uncertain whether he’d be able to play or at least play to his full potential with some looming problems from a foot and shoulder injury. He spent the last year and a half with the New England Patriots, but was released and replaced by Mac Jones.

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The Panthers will keep working Newton into their lineup and it will be interesting to see how he continues to perform. If the Panthers do re-sign him, it would mean Sam Darnold would be a very expensive backup quarterback and the Panthers are already paying the Denver Bronco’s starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater after trading him away, so it’s unlikely they’d go that route.

Whatever his fate, it looks like Cam Newton is happy to be back and ready to prove himself again. In his debut with the Panthers in 2011, he also played against the Cardinals, passing for 422 yards and two touchdowns. He was the first rookie quarterback to throw for over 400 yards in his league debut. Between 2011-2017, he led the team to three division titles and four playoff appearances. He will continue to build a relationship and work on chemistry with his teammates, but he’s off to a hot start with the Panthers in his return game.

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