Cam Newton facing big test today, as he prepares to start at quarterback for Carolina Panthers, at Arizona

Posted by Andy Durham on September 11, 2011 at 3:26 pm under Professional | Comments are off for this article


The night of the NFL draft, Panthers center Ryan Kalil welcomed the No. 1 pick to town with a tweet: “Welcome to Charlotte, entertainer and icon Cam Newton!”

It was a dig at Newton for his infamous comment to Sports Illustrated’s Peter King that had many observers – including a few of his new teammates – wondering whether Newton had his priorities out of whack.

With Newton ready to make his regular-season debut Sunday at Arizona, Kalil and others say there is no questioning how much Newton cares about football. First-year head coach Ron Rivera spent 45 minutes talking with Newton at bed-check one night at Wofford when Newton was beating himself up after a rough practice.

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The crowd, with the roof closed, is among the noisiest in the NFL, and Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt expects it to be a major advantage.

“We are going to have a great crowd,” he said, “and that will go a long way in helping us get the win in this first game.”

That Newton is beginning his pro career on the same he field he ended his college one is “unique in itself but it’s really irrelevant at the same time,” he said.

“You can’t still linger with those collegiate things that you have in your back pocket,” Newton said. “You might as well clear you pockets out. Nobody cares.”

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