New­ton not wor­ried about longterm health from hits to head

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Steve Reed

CHAR­LOTTE, N.C. >> Pan­thers quar­ter­back Cam New­ton said he’s not wor­ried about the long-term ef­fects of re­peated hits to his head.

How­ever, his fa­ther has con­cerns.

The league’s MVP took four hel­met-to-hel­met shots in Carolina’s 21-20 loss to the Den­ver Bron­cos, although only one of the hits drew a flag and none re­sulted in any penalty yardage.

De­spite the well-pub­li­cized ef­fects of re­peated con­cus­sions to NFL play­ers, New­ton said Wed­nes­day his fo­cus is solely on win­ning football games .

“That’s it, win­ning,” New­ton said Wed­nes­day when asked about his longterm health. “... I’m not here to worry about re­tire­ment plans. I’m not here to worry about pen­sions. I’m not here to worry about worker’s (com­pen­sa­tion). I’m here to win football games, sim­ple and plain.”

The All-Pro quar­ter­back added, “this is a con­tact sport. This is a phys­i­cal sport. I play the game for the right rea­sons. What­ever coach asks me to do I’m go­ing to do it to win football games.”

New­ton’s fa­ther, Ce­cil New­ton, told The As­so­ci­ated Press that his 27-yearold son is too young to fully com­pre­hend what mul­ti­ple hits to the head can do over a long pe­riod of time. He wants to see his son pro­tected more on the field by NFL game of­fi­cials.

“Cam is in that su­per­hu­man mind­set right now,” Ce­cil New­ton said. “... He will un­der­stand player safety far more crit­i­cally 20 years from now.”

Ce­cil also be­lieves hit­ting his son has be­come a badge of honor for some de­fend­ers.

“I think some play­ers feel like they have ar­rived when they hit Cam,” Ce­cil New­ton said. “Go­ing out of your way, play­ing dirty and push­ing the le­gal stuff to the limit, I ques­tion what your in­ten­tions are.”

Bron­cos line­backer Bran­don Mar­shall was fined $24,309 and safety Dar­ian Ste­wart $18,231 for hel­metto-hel­met hits New­ton, a per­son told The As­so­ci­ated Press, speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymity Wed­nes­day be­cause the NFL hasn’t an­nounced the fines. Nei­ther player was sus­pended, the source said.

New­ton had no reaction to the fines, say­ing there’s “no need to look back.”

He said he doesn’t feel the need to lobby for his health, even as his team­mates and coaches have done that for him.

Among those was his Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen, who said game of­fi­cials treat New­ton like he’s run­ning back in­stead of a quar­ter­back just be­cause of his size. New­ton is 6-foot-5 and 245 pounds and has run for more touch­downs than any quar­ter­back in NFL his­tory.

“I don’t think you can talk about player safety and then have what un­folded,” Olsen said of the NFL. “You can’t talk out of both sides of your mouth. Player safety sounds great. It’s a great off­sea­son ral­ly­ing cry­ing. It sounds awe­some. But we got zero yards out of any of those hits.”

Said left tackle Michael Oher: “Well I wish some calls could have got­ten made in the game. But maybe in the fu­ture he will be treated more like a quar­ter­back.”

New­ton re­turned to prac­tice on Wed­nes­day, Carolina’s first since los­ing the Su­per Bowl re­match to the Bron­cos when Gra­ham Gano’s 50-yard field goal sailed wide left in the game’s fi­nal sec­onds.

New­ton wore his typ­i­cal long black sweat­pants, longsleeve black shirt and a red No. 1 prac­tice jer­sey on the field and lined up with the first-team of­fense.

He said he’s ready to play in Carolina’s home opener Sun­day against the 49ers, who are com­ing off a 28-0 shutout win over the Los An­ge­les Rams.


Carolina Pan­thers quar­ter­back Cam New­ton lies on the turf af­ter a rough­ing the passer penalty was called on Den­ver Bron­cos free safety Dar­ian Ste­wart (26) dur­ing the sec­ond half on Sept. 8.

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