Panthers owner had classy gesture for Cam Newton before QB returned
Cam Newton is wearing the same jersey number with the Carolina Panthers that he wore in his first stint with the team, and it is apparently not a coincidence that it was still available.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, Stephon Gilmore asked to wear No. 1 with the Panthers when they acquired him in a trade with the New England Patriots. Gilmore, who is from South Carolina, wanted to wear the number as a tribute to Newton. Team owner David Tepper declined the request, however, as he didn’t feel right giving Newton’s old number away.
Gilmore ended up with No. 9, and No. 1 remained vacant. The Panthers didn’t know at the time that they’d be bringing Newton back, but it worked out that Tepper saved the former MVP’s old jersey number.
Rapoport noted that Newton wasn’t happy with the communication from the coaching staff and front office when he was released by Carolina prior to the 2020 season. He made it clear that he wanted that to be a point of emphasis this time around, and the Panthers assured him it would be.
The Panthers obviously believe Newton can be their starter going forward, as evidenced by the details of his contract. That confidence and financial commitment sold Newton on returning to his former team. Tepper’s classy gesture may have also helped.
Photo: Aug 22, 2019; Foxborough, MA, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) warms up prior to the start of a game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports