Cam Newton Confesses he Was a Bad Teammate Last Year
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton may be ditching towels in 2012.
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And even though there were predraft concerns in many quarters about his leadership and dedication, he is already displaying nice dollops of accountability.
"I was very immature," Newton told Yahoo! when reflecting on his first NFL season even though he was honored as the offensive rookie of the year after a record-breaking performance.
"I'll be the first one to tell you, the pouting and the moping, I kind of overdid it. I know that. I was a bad teammate. I shut off to some people who gave unbelievable effort. ... That's where I have to mature."
Coming off national championships in junior college and Auburn in his two previous seasons, going 6-10 clearly didn't agree with Newton. He could often be seen hunched on the bench with a towel draped over his head. His frustration in postgame press conferences seemed to grow as the losses mounted.
Not that accepting mediocrity is something anyone wants to see in a leader.
"Cam was angry because he thought he could and should make every play," said Panthers WR Steve Smith.
"He has to realize you can't do it all yourself. ... As you get older in this game, you see how everybody has to do their job and how there are so many plays in a game that affect the outcome. As a competitor, you want the ball in your hands at the end to make the play, but you can't do it all in football."
Though he had plenty of help from Smith in 2011, Newton seemed like he nearly did do it all. Newton became the first rookie to pass for 4,000 yards (4,051). He became the first player to pass for more than 4,000 yards and run for more than 500 (706). His 14 rushing TDs established a new record among quarterbacks.
But Newton knows his leadership must begin to match his on-field production, especially when things go awry.
Source: USA Today | Nate Davis
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