CHARLOTTE, N .C. – Carolina Panthers coach Matt Rhule says he desires full Cam Newton, not Cam Newton lite.
No one is aware of what that’s higher than former Carolina coach Ron Rivera, who on Sunday returns to Financial institution of America Stadium (1 p.m. ET, Fox) because the coach of the Washington Soccer Workforce, with Newton anticipated to make his first begin in his second stint with the Panthers.
From “Superman’’ and “dabbing’’ celebrations, to outrageous postgame outfits to a capability to maintain defensive coordinators up nights scheming for arguably the most effective dual-threat quarterback in NFL historical past, Rivera has seen all of it with Newton.
Rivera’s power was he let Newton be Newton, one thing those that performed with the 2015 NFL MVP consider is important for Newton to achieve success below Rhule.
“If he’s keen to let Cam type of go and run, do his factor, and be the power, and type of convey the optimistic vibe of day-to-day, if he is keen to let that occur, it could work out,’’ stated Derek Anderson, who was Newton’s backup throughout Rivera’s first seven seasons with the Panthers.
Rivera and Newton spent 9 years (2011-19) collectively at Carolina. Newton helped Rivera win two NFL Coach of the 12 months awards and turn into the group’s all-time winningest coach with 76 victories. Rivera helped Newton attain an iconic standing.
They each helped one another attain Tremendous Bowl 50 in 2015.
One might argue neither would have been as profitable with out the opposite — notably Newton, as a result of Rivera let his flamboyant quarterback be himself.
“He’s a particular particular person and has this magnetic persona,’’ Rivera stated. “If you happen to take the time to grasp him, you’re going to see the positivity that he creates.’’
Newton is appreciative, calling Rivera’s willingness to let him present his persona “nice.’’ However he refused to make Sunday in regards to the two of them.
“Man, it’s not about us.’’ he stated. “He is aware of how I really feel about him. And he is aware of what it’s going to be on Sunday.’’
Rivera referred to as it a “daring transfer’’ for the Panthers (5-5) to convey Newton again after a 12 months and a half with New England earlier than being lower on Aug. 30. He additionally stated it was “cool’’ to see it working.
A number of of Newton’s former Carolina teammates agreed.
“Can’t make these things up,’’ stated San Francisco cornerback Josh Norman, who performed with Newton and Rivera from 2012-15. “Stuff for films, man.’’
Anderson referred to as it “loopy.’’
“It’s clearly going to be a bit bizarre, for certain too,’’ he stated. “And the group’s gonna be electrical.’’
Former Carolina operating again Jonathan Stewart agreed.
“There’s gonna be loads of emotion from the standpoint of the followers seeing a coach that got here in and adjusted the tradition, a participant that got here and alter the tradition,’’ he stated. “It actually modified it for the entire NFL in loads of methods.’’
Newton’s persona was in full pressure throughout Sunday’s 34-10 win on the Arizona Cardinals.
After his 2-yard landing run on his first play he ripped off his helmet, ran to the sideline and shouted, “I’m baaaack!’’
Requested earlier this week how he would handle the quarterback’s massive persona, Rhule didn’t hesitate.
“I don’t need Cam lite,’’ he stated. “I need full Cam, so long as Cam is targeted on soccer, which he’s, so it’s straightforward.’’
It was straightforward, for essentially the most half, for Rivera. Having come from the 1985 Chicago Bears that exuded persona — just like the “Tremendous Bowl Shuffle’’ music video — helped.
Rivera additionally knew, when it mattered, Newton’s focus was on soccer.
What Rivera calls a “poignant second’’ of their relationship occurred in 2013 when he began taking probabilities on fourth right down to earn the title “Riverboat Ron.’’
“He came visiting to me after we scored at residence versus the Giants and advised me, ‘I’ll by no means allow you to down,’’’ Rivera recalled. “I by no means forgot that.’’
Ties and extra ties
One other massive second occurred in 2016 when Newton was benched for the primary collection on the Seattle Seahawks as a result of he violated the gown code by not sporting a tie on the airplane.
“He let Cam be Cam, but in addition required or anticipated him to behave and do issues a sure means at work,’’ Anderson stated. “That was most likely the height of their battle. If you happen to’re constructing a group and constructing a franchise, you’ll be able to’t simply let it slide.’’
Norman, who additionally has a giant persona, understands. The second that ties him and Newton collectively was a struggle through the 2015 coaching camp after he stiff-armed the quarterback, who was making an attempt to sort out him after an interception.
Norman reminded later that few quarterbacks would have tried, including, “That’s what you need in a frontrunner.’’
Norman and Newton went on to turn into shut after Norman signed with Washington in 2016. By no means did he consider Newton would return to Carolina.
“It’s type of loopy the way it all labored out,’’ he stated. “Wow! That’s an act of religion previous past … that’s one thing that the Father did. You’ll be able to’t contact that. You’ll be able to’t write that script. That’s religion, man.’’
One second Rivera needs he’d had extra management of was the adverse response Newton bought for abruptly chopping his Tremendous Bowl postgame interview quick.
“Folks don’t notice how devastating it was to him,’’ Rivera stated. “He desires to win.’’
Rhule desires to win too. That’s why he turned to Newton, a participant he launched in 2020 as a result of there have been too many questions on the quarterback’s shoulder and foot accidents.
He introduced Newton again, partially, as a result of starter Sam Darnold suffered a shoulder harm that landed him on injured reserve for 4-6 weeks, and, partially, as a result of Darnold struggled after a 3-0 begin.
Luckily for Rhule, Newton was wholesome and obtainable.
“It’s cool he’s again in Charlotte,’’ Rivera stated. “He by no means wished to depart. He loves that group. He loves that metropolis.’’