Posted May 30, 2012

Carolina Panthers’ Cam Newton: “I was very immature” as rookie

NFL
Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panther quarterback Cam Newton says he was a “bad teammate” as a rookie. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton had a statistically stellar season as a rookie in 2011, but the former Heisman Trophy winner felt he was a “bad teammate” at times, reports Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports.

“I was very immature,” Newton said in his interview with Cole. “I’ll be the first one to tell you, the pouting and the moping, I kind of overdid it. I know that. I was a bad teammate. I shut off to some people who gave unbelievable effort. … That’s where I have to mature.”

Newton talked mostly about his actions late in losses. Coming off of an undefeated, national championship season with Auburn, he was unused to the losing. Newton also struggled at times to deal with his personal failures on the field. He wants to work at moving on from bad plays and not letting his demeanor be affected.

“It’s like [quarterbacks] coach [Mike] Shula says to me, ‘Water off a duck’s back, you can’t let it bother you,’ ” Newton said. “If you let little things affect you, it’s going to stay with you the next time you have to go out on the field. So I have to do a better job of controlling my emotions during the good and the bad. Just be a better teammate. My position requires that I show leadership and people are looking at me. If I’m pouty and grumpy, that’s how they react to me.

“Half the time it wasn’t me shutting people down because I was thinking they weren’t giving the same effort as me, it was me knowing there were things I could do that could have changed the outcome of the game. … I put a lot on me to be able to respond. When things are going wrong, I wanted to have the ball in my hand, just like any warrior, any competitor who has played this game. When you don’t get the results you want, I didn’t go about it the right way.”

“I have to have the same mentality, but I have to go about it in a different way,” Newton said of his emotions. “It’s an overall maturity level that has to kick in. It’s saying, ‘OK, that was two plays ago that you threw that interception, now you have to let that go and get past that.’ I can’t be moping and crying about making a bonehead play when it was three series ago. That’s the thing that I did that has to change.”