Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton called Charlotte his "home" Monday as he addressed his future with the franchise amid swirling rumors that the injured star might be throwing passes for a new team next season.
Newton played two games in 2019 and then was sidelined because of a foot injury. While Kyle Allen has handled the load, rumors have suggested that Newton might be switching teams. He talked to the media at his annual Thanksgiving Jam on Monday and addressed his future in Carolina.
“Charlotte is home. Charlotte is a place I know people know me. They're not just assuming. They know how I am. They know my energy. They know what I like and what I don't like. For me to have that type of presence, it just reminds me that ... it's right,” he said, according to ESPN.
“We're looking forward to countless more years in Charlotte to impact the community in ways outside of the game of football.”
Panthers team owner David Tepper, who was at Newton’s event, made clear last week that a decision on the quarterback’s future has not been made. CBS Sports reported Sunday that the team could be in for a major shakeup come 2020.
It was the first time Newton talked to the media since a Week 2 loss against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He hadn’t played in a game since then. According to ESPN, he said it meant a lot when the kids he was serving at the event were telling him that they missed him on the field.
“It's been a trying year for me in multiple ways,” Newton said. “But at the end of the day, being around this type of atmosphere helps you.”
Newton has been Carolina’s starting quarterback since the 2011 season when the team selected him No. 1 overall in the draft. Since then, he’s started in 124 out of the 125 games he’s appeared in, thrown for 29,041 yards, 182 touchdowns and 108 interceptions. He led the Panthers to the Super Bowl and a 15-1 record during the 2015 season.
Newton, who signed a five-year, $103.8 million contract in 2015, is owed $18.6 million in 2020. He will become an unrestricted free agent prior to the 2021 season.