The Carolina Panthers did the unthinkable on Thursday: They brought back Cam Newton.
Why it matters: Cam is one of the most beloved — but also hated — figures in the NFL.
- The polarizing quarterback has been called arrogant, entertaining and everything in between during his time playing for the Panthers and, most recently, one season with the Patriots.
- Cam will certainly help get butts in seats at Bank of America Stadium after an otherwise lackluster start to the season.
The big picture: The Panthers were in desperate need of a quarterback with starter Sam Darnold out four-six weeks with a shoulder injury.
- Even with a healthy Darnold, the team isn’t playing well. They’re 4-5 at the bottom of the NFC South.
On the field: Newton’s stats speak for themselves, leading the Panthers in passing yards and touchdowns, as well as rushing touchdowns.
- In other words, when he was healthy, he was exceptional during his nine seasons with the Panthers.
- He brought smiles young fans when he would run to the stands after a touchdown and give them the football.
Off the field: Newton made an impact.
- His annual Thanksgiving Jam provided a feast for underprivileged children and their families.
- And it was hard to miss the 6-foot-5 NFL quarterback often spotted around Uptown on foot, scooter and sometimes hoverboard.
[Related Axios story: I saw Cam Newton on his scooter yesterday and it made me LOL]
The team posted a photo of owner David Tepper and Newton together, smiling, each with an after around the other after announcing the one-year deal, something no one could have anticipated with how poorly Newton’s exit went last year.
- And yes, the Panthers still had the No. 1 jersey available.
Zoom out: Charlotte now has the NBA rookie of the year playing for the Hornets and a former NFL MVP with the Panthers. And we have some burning questions: Who will have better postgame outfits — Newton or LaMelo Ball? And will the stylish pair end up roommates?
[Related Axios story: LaMelo Ball’s favorite dish in Charlotte is at a cereal bar]
My thought bubble: Earlier this morning, I checked the Panthers roster as the rumors began to swirl, wondering if anyone occupied No. 1, and it turns out Newton’s old number is available. QB1 is back.