Coach Ron Rivera believes Cam Newton still has the game to perform at the highest level and he shouldn't be written off despite coming off of a injury-plagued 2019 season. Rivera and Newton spent almost a decade of working together as the Carolina Panthers hired Rivera in 2011 -- the same year they used their No.
1 overall pick in the draft to select Newton. Last year, Newton played only the opening two games of the season as he missed the remainder of the year due to a foot injury. The Panthers lost their opening two games of the season, and after Newton went down with an injury, the rumors started to swirl that the team would move on from Newton after the season ends.
Rivera is now the head coach of the Washington Redskins, while Newton has found his new home with the New England Patriots. "He's headed in the right direction," Rivera said on the McNeil & Parkins Show, as revealed on ESPN.
"I mean, he's probably about as healthy as it gets from what I've seen on video. I think he's ready to bust out. "I would never bet against the young man, that's for sure."
Ron Rivera thinks Newton deserves more respect
After the Panthers agreed to move on from Newton, the belief was that it wouldn't take much time for the 31-year-old quarterback to find a new home.
But it turned out the opposite as Newton found his new home a few days ago when he signed with the Patriots on a one-year deal. Newton, the 2015 NFL MVP, will have a chance to revive his career with the Patriots -- who are led by one of the greatest coaches of all time, Bill Belichick.
"Don't bet against him," Rivera said of Newton. "I really wouldn't. First of all, you got to know who he is and understand what all he's gone through. He's a guy that's always tried to do things, I think, because he's felt the pressure.
He felt the pressure of being the No. 1 pick. He felt the pressure of having won the Heisman Trophy and being the No. 1 pick. He felt the pressure of being a Black quarterback, with all this stuff that's been heaped on him. "He's really had to find his way through it, and he's done a great job with it." Ron Rivera also added he thinks the coronavirus pandemic was the reason why more teams didn't try to sign Newton.