When Cam Newton said in an interview with ESPN that he needs the Panthers to get “on my level,” there was some talk that it could be viewed as an arrogant comment, and cause for resentment in the Panthers’ locker room.
But it turns out that the leaders in the Panthers’ locker room agree.
Panthers receiver Steve Smith told the Charlotte Observer that he’s glad Newton came to Carolina wanting to change the culture: After all, the reason the Panthers were in a position to draft Newton first overall in this year’s draft is that they were the worst team in the league last year.
“It doesn’t bother me at all. I’d rather have a guy who is upset that we lost, obviously handling it the right way, than a guy who is neither way, whichever way,” Smith said. “I like a guy who has the desire not to win next year, but he wants to win immediately. I think we needed more of that.”
Panthers coach Ron Rivera said that if Newton is frustrated by the losing in Carolina, that’s a good thing.
“Cam’s approach to everything is 100 percent,” Rivera said. “You have to understand who he is. He is a young man that just doesn’t like to lose.”
And if the Panthers don’t want to lose, then Newton is right: They’re going to need players on his level.