I would venture if you asked the average NFL player what they new about Steve Smith you would hear about the fiery way he plays the game, the big plays and...of course the past issues with teammates. One adjective I doubt you would hear is 'Leader'. Yet when asked about how big it was that the Panthers extended Smith's contract there was Newton using the' L' word"
"Having him back is a big thing for not only me, as my whole evolution is going to change -- to have his leadership there -- but for the whole team," Newton said. "We need Smitty not for what he does at the receiver position but for the leader that he is, how much he holds everybody accountable."
Okay...now it makes sense. I have no doubt Smitty does his best to hold everyone accountable. I imagine the worst thing you could do as his teammate is to try and ignore him. Smitty leads by example and he sets the bar high. I'm thinking Smith is just the type of veteran Newton needs to work with. Newton doesn't need anyone to motivate him. I'm sure even if Smith had left Carolina Newton would be working just as hard this offseason. But where Smith helps Newton is by setting that bar high.
"I've had the whole offseason to work on the things that I feel like I need to get better at (and that) will come into fruition. With the upcoming OTAs, I feel like that's another time for me to get better."
Newton's personal OTA's started back in March and I'm sure they will extend right up to training camp. The guy seems driven and I don't think it's just an act to stay in the news as I bet some are surmising.