When the news came down that Cam Newton needed offseason shoulder surgery, after suffering a partial tear in his rotator cuff in Week 14, the immediate question became: Why did the Carolina Panthers' quarterback play the final games of a lost season?
As the Panthers began offseason workouts this week with Newton on the sideline rehabbing from surgery, the quarterback told Bill Voth of the team's official website that he felt it was his duty as a team captain to play if he could.
"Was it smart? People may say it wasn't, but at the end of the day, I think the bigger picture was I'm one of the leaders on this team," Newton said. "I just want to set a good standard that, listen, the team comes first and I'm just going to put myself in position to try to lead this team as much as possible."
He added: "But at the end of the day, I felt as if there was another thing that was achieved. I wear the 'C' patch on my jersey with great pride, and I feel as if it comes around again, would I reconsider it? Yeah, but also knowing those guys that I'm going to give every single thing that I have to give for this game, for the fans, for my teammates, especially."
Newton attempted to rehab the shoulder sans surgery this offseason. When the injury wasn't responding as team trainers hoped, surgery was the next option.
Newton missing offseason workouts might hinder the Panthers' plans to revamp the offense to help lessen the hits to their star quarterback, including fewer designed QB runs.