Captaincy and Cam Newton

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Cam Newton has not been named a captain in each of his first two years, which has become a perpetual hangup for fans. What does he need to do in 2013 to earn the 'C', and should it be handed to him?

Captaincy has become a late-OTA talking point since Cam Newton arrived in Carolina. The player-voted ballot has honored seniority in the past, which has raised unnecessary questions about Newton's leadership. Instead of accepting that multiple pro-bowl players were getting honored for their careers, it became about a young quarterback's immaturity. It appears Cam wants to earn that patch, but the most talented player on the field shouldn't be given it carte blanche.

Is Cam Newton a leader? Truthfully, none of us can answer that question. All we have is uninformed opinions without locker room access, or understanding how the team operates behind closed doors. Newton not being awarded captaincy is as mystifying as Charles Godfrey getting the patch, unless you have that insight.

Even the most criticized quarterbacks get awarded captain -- it's the nature of the beast. Is Jay Cutler a better leader than Newton because he has the 'C'? The Bears certainly aren't a better team because of the patch, and this is the disconnect on the topic.

Charlotte wants Newton to be captain because not giving it to him is indicative of struggles, and we want to believe he's untouchable. However, if you're hell bent on giving Cam the title, then either Jordan Gross or Steve Smith is losing it -- and that makes it more difficult.

Smith is unquestionably the team's captain, and that should not change until he retires from the game. On the surface he's not traditional leader material, but the players understand the impact he has on the team. The elder statesman of the organization instructs, guides, and works with younger talents.

Gross, on the other hand, could be the guy to lose the 'C'. It's not a knock on his talent (though it is declining), but rather his status in the organization. He's a one-year player at this point, almost guaranteed to be gone following the 2013 season. Meanwhile, Newton is the future of the organization for the foreseeable future.

Cam should not be handed the award, but he's making strides to earn it. If that's enough, then it's fantastic -- but lets not be too quickly to draw conclusions if the team elects to send Gross off into the sunset with one final captaincy.

Lets do something novel and maybe leave Newton alone for a little while?

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