Charlotte, NC, United States (4E Sports) – As testament of faith in his leadership, the Carolina Panthers have voted quarterback Cam Newton as team captain for the first time in his three years with the team.
The selection was significant for the 2011 No. 1 overall pick and former Heisman Trophy winner because his leadership has been in question throughout the preseason.
“I think it’s significant because it’s talking about his growth and I’ve been asked that question all through training camp,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said.
“This is part of his growth is that he continues to step up and show his leadership abilities. And he plays a position that you most certainly are put into that position of being a leader,” Rivera added.
Newton joins a group that includes linebackers Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis, wide receiver Steve Smith, left tackle Jordan Gross and center Ryan Kalil.
“I recognize — and everyone knows around the league — when you’re a team captain, that’s not just a patch on the jersey,” Newton earlier said when asked about being team captain. “You’re holding yourself to a higher standard with being accountable.”
Last year’s team had five captains. Rivera added one when he realized league rules allow six and is using the top six vote-getters this season instead of two on offense, two on defense and one on special teams.