In what has been to date a spectacular beginning to an NFL career, Carolina Panthers QB CAM NEWTON sat down with ESPN The Magazine for his first media interview since turning pro and had quite a few things to say about his critics, the media and getting his teammates to play on “his level”…

On the surface, Newton’s comments about getting his teammates “to my level” appear cocky and self-centered. But one must look a little deeper into the comment to understand where Newton’s mindset is.

Here’s a guy that has lost a grand total of one game over his final two college football seasons at Blinn (Texas) and Auburn with a national championship to boot. He’s used to winning. So when Carolina Cam says he wants to change that losing culture with the  Panthers (4-8), he’s speaking from a place of accomplishment, and expects that same level of achievement from his teammates. I see nothing wrong with that.

And neither does his Carolina teammates. Resident All-Pro veteran receiver Steve Smith is among them.

“Sometimes I feel that way. I’ve questioned that in past years. If a young guy coming here has that question, I think it’s good. I don’t mind,” Smith said. “When you’re in a relationship, y’all are supposed to have the same common goals. I think there’s nothing wrong with questioning a person’s motive. I think that’s good. I think sometimes you’ve got to go under the hood and check a little bit.”

The controversy with Newton’s comment may stem from him being a rook (although a damn good one) and making that comment at such an early stage in his career. But when is the “right time” for dude to say it? When he’s 29 and has endured several spectacular yet losing seasons? Newton is looking to change the mindset in Carolina now.

And Cam has no different an outlook for himself and his team than what Troy Aikman, Michael Jordan or Larry Bird had. The difference is Cam candidly expressed his frustrations with losing to the media—the very place he is leery of in the first place—and put the focus on himself instead of his team with that comment.

Although I get where you’re coming from, you’ve got to be more tactful, Cam. You know peeps are gonna twist up what you say.

Especially when there’s a fine line between being cocky and being confident.


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