Panthers quarterback Cam Newton set a new NFL record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback on Sunday when he reached the end zone for the 13th time this season. And then he did what he usually does after he scores a touchdown: He handed the ball to a young fan in the stands.
The only problem was that the Pro Football Hall of Fame had already asked the Panthers to ship the ball to Canton, Ohio, if Newton broke the record. Panthers assistant equipment manager Don Toner said he knew he was going to have an awkward situation on his hands as soon as he saw Newton approaching the fan.
“The funny thing is when Cam scored and started running over there we’re all yelling, ‘Oh no, don’t,’” Toner told the Associated Press. “It was like watching it happen in slow motion. It was painful.”
Fortunately for Toner and the Hall of Fame, the fan was 16-year-old Katie Brown, who was wearing a homemade Cam Newton T-shirt and had asked for tickets to see Newton play for Christmas. When Toner approached her, she was happy to give the ball back.
“I was like, ‘OK, no problem,’” Brown said. “I honestly believe Cam deserves to have that ball because it was his record and his achievement. He should have it.”
The Panthers gave Brown another game-used football and four hats, and they said they’re going to ship her something else. It ought to be something good: Brown’s generosity deserves to be rewarded.