FLOWERY BRANCH — Carolina quarterback Cam Newton had a spectacular rookie season, but is off to a bumpy start in his second season.
Wide receiver Steve Smith didn’t think Newton’s late-game sulking was befitting a leader and ordered him to get off the bench, where he was alone and under a towel, and stand on the sidelines with the rest of the quarterbacks.
The Panthers hope to bounce back from the chaotic exchange that Smith made public a day after the Giants game.
“It was a thing Steve and Cam had to make up with each other,” linebacker Thomas Davis said. “We’ve done a good job in house of keeping everything grounded and making sure that everybody is on the same page.”
Panthers coach Ron Rivera also believes that things have been worked out.
“Steve is one of our team captains, one of our veteran team captains, and he felt like it needed to be said,” Rivera said. “I told Steve I have no problem saying what he did to Cam. I talked to Cam about it, and he has no issue with it. Cam understands he is one of our leaders and guys will look to him. The only disappointment I had, and Steve and I talked about it, it was made public.”
The Panthers need Newton, who’s from College Park and played at Westlake High, to be a leader. But when things don’t go well, he tends to pout and sulk. He was despondent last season after a loss at the Georgia Dome.
“The Panthers have had issues that they have to address,” Fox analyst John Lynch said.