Cam Newton and Ron Rivera had plenty of success together with the Carolina Panthers. Now, both are restarting with new franchises.
Rivera is the new head coach in Washington. He inherits a second-year quarterback in Dwayne Haskins, with whom he hopes to have that same long term success. After Haskins’ rough rookie year, there was some speculation that Washington could pursue Cam Newton, but that never materialized.
Instead, Cam Newton immediately enters one of the most intriguing quarterback situations in the NFL. He is the favorite to take over the job vacated by Tom Brady, after signing with the New England Patriots. Newton will have to beat out another Auburn product, second-year player Jarrett Stidham.
Ron Rivera isn’t counting out Cam when it comes to this new phase of his career. During an interview with 670 The Score in Chicago, Rivera said he thinks Newton is “ready to bust out.” If that’s the case, Bill Belichick just pulled a rabbit out of his hat, in moving the franchise on from Brady.
— 670 The Score (@670TheScore) June 29, 2020
“He’s headed in the right direction,” Rivera told the McNeil & Parkins Show on Monday. “I mean, he’s probably about as healthy as it gets from what I’ve seen on video.
Rivera says he’d “never bet against” his former quarterback. In 2015, Newton won the NFL MVP Award and, with Rivera, led the Panthers to an NFC Championship and Super Bowl berth. Injuries have derailed his last few seasons, with both shoulder troubles and a lisfranc injury causing him to miss significant time. If he’s healthy, though, there are few more talented quarterbacks.
“Don’t bet against him,” Rivera added, heaping praise on Newton for what he’s accomplished during his career. “I really wouldn’t. First of all, you got to know who he is and understand what all he’s gone through. He’s a guy that’s always tried to do things, I think, because he’s felt the pressure. He felt the pressure of being the No. 1 overall pick. He felt the pressure of having won the Heisman Trophy and being the No. 1 overall pick. He felt the pressure of being a black quarterback, with all the stuff that’s been heaped on him. He’s really had to find his way through it, and he’s done a great job with it.”
Newton signed for a pretty small, team-friendly deal, so the gamble isn’t a significant one for Belichick and company. If it works out, though… this will be one of the best stories in the NFL this year.