Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is apparently ready to move on from a stressful past few days.
Most importantly though, Newton has no lingering issues with veteran receiver Steve Smith; this following an incident when Smith took it upon himself to call out Newton for sulking on the sideline during the final minutes of action in their Thursday night game against the New York Giants.
The sideline drama between Smith and Newton was another cold reminder of how fast frustration can build up in the NFL.
Smith wanted Thursday night’s dreadful loss to the Giants to be a learning experience for Newton, an experience he could grow from.
Newton had no hard feelings toward Smith when speaking about the incident this week, “I look up to Smitty as if he’s my big brother, and he has a very big impact on how I play and just having a mindset because he has done it and has lived it.”
Newton adding, “Yeah he talked to me after the game, but he talked to me the day after, too, and will probably talk to me again today. It’s not like when Smitty talks to me it’s a big deal because I feel like I can call Smitty on any case on the field or off the field.”
Positive words from a quarterback who is going through a rough patch, but this is what Panthers fans should have expected Newton to say.
Everyone who follows the Panthers can tell Smith is a vocal guy. Good or bad, Smith displays a true passion for the game every time he takes the field. Smith can come off as being obnoxious or over the top, but Newton knew what transpired in week three was all about and he was smart to move past it the way he did.
Newton basically told the media and fans that his sideline confrontation with Smith was a non-issue.
Why should fans believe Newton?
Because Smith was hoping to teach Newton a lesson, he wasn’t at odds with Newton over not throwing him the ball, and Panthers fans understand how dedicated Smith is to his team.
Newton’s comments came at a crucial time in the season for Carolina. The Panthers are reeling from a 36-7 loss to the Giants in prime-time. Newton has been the focus for much, if not all of the negative press stemming from week three’s melt down. With the Panthers preparing for the 3-0 Atlanta Falcons this week, the air needed to be clear, so both the offense and defense could focus solely on football.
Though maybe next time Smith will choose to call out a player behind closed doors, or let’s hope he doesn’t have to.
Robert Kester, Carolina Panthers columnist. Please follow @robertkester1.