Tom Sorenson published a really nice piece last night that delves into the relationship between Panthers owner Jerry Richardson and his young phenom QB Cam Newton. It was a downright inspiring piece closed on what hit me as a very morbid ending:
As much as Newton means to receivers, he means more to the owner of the Panthers.
"Cam is the last quarterback I'll ever have," Richardson says. "I feel very fortunate that my last quarterback is him."
Let me first take the positive spin on that quote...that Richardson plans to keep Newton around for a long time and that Newton will have a long career. That's great news that really hasn't sunk in yet. On the flip side is JR feeling his mortality sneaking up on him? How could he not after going through a heart transplant. He must feel lucky to be still alive period and so I think he is making the best of his time.
Which brings me to my preferred spin. That JR is referring to the 'last QB he will need to win the SB'! He could simply retire after winning the big one right? Something tells me retirement in not in Big Cat's DNA. But at least he would have the option. If JR was actually referring to some prediction that his days are running short, well I think he knows he is not far from his goal.
When you ask JR about his relationship and respect for Newton he offers some high praise, something I'm not used to hearing from the Panthers owner, at least not in this abundance and clarity:
"I’m very straightforward with him, as I am with all my players," says Richardson. "I’ll tell him what I think. If he disagrees, he’ll tell me. But with respect. He’s always respectful with me, as I am with him."
The fact JR reflects make to his first meeting with Newton and the fact he left quite impression says a lot. His initial impression has only gotten better the longer he has known Newton:
"He wants to please," Richardson says Monday. "He wants to please his parents, his teammates, his coaches. That's been the characteristic that's so refreshing."
What will be a refreshing is a Super Bowl win in Carolina!
I'm going to close with a great quote by Marty Hurney in this piece describing how Newton has impacted the entire roster:
“It’s a quarterback’s league,” says Panthers general manager Marty Hurney. “So when you get a very good one it energizes your entire organization. Now you add Cam’s personality, which is dynamic, and his competiveness and his work ethic and then his playmaking abilities, and that’s contagious.
“The receivers are happier and more confident because they know that they always have a chance of getting the ball. The offensive linemen are happier because they know there’s always a chance Cam could escape for a 20-yard gain. The defense is energized because if they go out and get a stop they know the offense can score. It all has a domino effect on the entire team.”
Which energizes the fan base as well.
Unlike JR I hope to see the next great Panther QB...in about 15-20 years! I plan to be around that long! I'm expecting Newton to set the bar high for future QBs, as in all QBs, not just Panther QBs. But oh what I fun ride I expect in the mean time!