CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - During Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay, the final play came down to the Panthers attempting a hail mary.
The throw was made by backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke, not staring quarterback Cam Newton.
This decision was made due to lingering issues with Newton’s throwing shoulder - the same one he had surgery on in 2017.
“I would not have expected me to still have things lingering from that, but at the end of the day it is what it is,” Newton said. “It’s about managing pain and understanding you have a job to do, a responsibility to put your best product out on the field, and I want to do that for myself and this team.”
When asked how his shoulder feels this week and if he will be ready for Sunday’s game against Cleveland Newton simply said, “Feels great. Taking it day-by-day. Will be ready to go on Sunday.”
Newton also shared that he has not ruled out the possibility of needing to have additional procedures done to his shoulder once the season is over, but for now he is not looking at that as an option.
“Just got to live with it,” Newton said. “Father Time ain't nobody's friend, but at the end of the day you've got to do certain things that give you the best opportunity to be accurate, have strength in your arm or have endurance during the game.”
“I just know I am healthy enough to play,” Newton explained. “I’m not going to let nothing hold me back from being able to help my team. I definitely don’t want to be a liability. I want to make sure I’m putting myself and this team in the best position to win football games.”
However, even though Newton feels ready to go, the coaching staff is preparing for all possibilities.
“We just have to be ready to do something different if we have to,” Rivera added. “I think that’s probably where we are going to get to. I’m not sure yet, but we’ll see how it goes.”