Cam Newton is entering his third season as the starting quarterback of the Carolina Panthers, and he has yet to be elected a team captain. While Newton is still only 24 years old, age has very little to do with the fact that his coaches and peers have decided to hold off on giving him that honor.
“I recognize – and everyone knows around the league – when you’re a team captain that’s not just a patch on the jersey,” Newton told reporters Wednesday, via the Charlotte Observer. “You’re holding yourself to a higher standard with being accountable,” Newton said. “I’m going about it each and every day and trying to make that happen.”
For the past several seasons, receiver Steve Smith and tackle Jordan Gross have been named the team’s offensive captains. Smith and Gross have been with the Panthers longer than anyone else on the roster, so seniority certainly plays a factor. According to center Ryan Kalil, it could be a while before Newton has a “C” on his jersey.
“You’ve got to look at the team as a whole,” Kalil said. “I just think there’s guys who have been with the organization a lot longer that have been in that role for a long time. So it’s hard. There’s only two of them. I would say there’s a couple other guys that would be in that mix.
“But it’ll be a while before it transitions to somebody else.”
Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III were both named captains of their teams last season as rookies. Does that mean there are no veterans playing for the Redskins and Colts that have put in more time with the team than RG3 and Luck? We all know the answer to that.
In reality, Newton has had too many moments during his professional career where he has shown he is not yet ready to be a leader. Whether it be reportedly holding up the team bus by sulking or questioning his coaches during a postgame interview, Newton has allowed too much negative attention to follow him. He’ll never put a stop to that because of his position and background, but he can certainly do a better job of helping himself. When he starts doing that, then his teammates might considering giving him the “C.”