Injured Panthers quarterback Cam Newton wasn’t talking about his foot, or his future.
But while serving holiday meals to 1,300 underprivileged children at his eighth annual Thanksgiving Jam event last night, he did profess a bond with his adopted city.
“Charlotte is home,” he said, via David Newton of ESPN.com. “Charlotte is a place I know people know me. They’re not just assuming. They know how I am. They know my energy. They know what I like and what I don’t like. For me to have that type of presence, it just reminds me that . . . it’s right.
“We’re looking forward to countless more years in Charlotte to impact the community in ways outside of the game of football.”
Whether he’s able to on the field remains to be seen.
He’s under contract for one more year, hasn’t finished a season on his feet in two years, and there’s uncertainty surrounding him his coach, and General Manager after owner David Tepper declared he wasn’t going to stand for mediocrity.
The Panthers are 195-199-1 in their 25 years of operations, 16th in the NFL during that span with a .495 winning percentage. They’re 12-15 (.444) since Tepper bought the team.
While not updating his physical condition, the former MVP quarterback did acknowledge that not being on the field created a different feeling for him.
“It’s just been tough,” Newton said. “I was in a place where I wasn’t used to being. And you know a team you’re a part of is equipped with everything except for your presence, so to speak.
“Being in the position I am, being away from the game and missing the support and on-field interaction with the fans, and when you finally do come out to a showing like this in the first time in eight or nine weeks, that’s what you miss the most.”
Perhaps some day, he’ll greet a larger crowd in Charlotte.