Ron Rivera Reveals That Cam Newton Is Super Bummed Out Again
Cam Newton has more physical and mental talent on the football field than almost everyone else on the planet - and he has the job, the endorsements and the 2015 unanimous NFL MVP title to prove it. Sure, he may not have a Super Bowl ring yet, but he's played in the game. And he's still only 27 years old.
In spite of all of his enormous success - as the current franchise quarterback of an NFL team and a former wunderkind with a college National Championship and Heisman Trophy - Newton cannot seem overcome his self-doubt. The loud, harsh criticisms have only become louder and harsher as social media becomes more ubiquitous, forcing many superstar athletes and celebrities to learn how to tune it all out and focus on the things they can control.
However according to Panthers coach Ron Rivera, that's something that Newton still somewhat inexplicably can't manage to do.
“He’s going to have to rebuild his confidence,” Rivera said at the NFL owners meetings. “It was shook. Let’s be honest. I’m not going to lie about that. The young man went through a tough time and we went through a tough time.”
The tough time Rivera's presumably referring to is their backslide last season after losing Super Bowl 50 to the Denver Broncos. The team went from being atop the NFC to winning just six games in 2016, as a result of a multitude issues - not the least of which was injuries. For a player like Newton, whose emotional composure is often incredibly fragile, a season fraught with that much adversity is devastating to the ego.
“He’s human,” Rivera continued. “For anyone to sort of think he wasn’t, you’ve got to understand he’s human. He’s a tough-minded football player who does everything he can to win. It was a tough year last year, I think. But I also think it was a great learning experience for all of us – a humbling experience... I know he was frustrated a lot last year, because we were so close.
“It’s hard. You lose six games by three points or less – you lose them on the last drive or two – that’s tough. That’s tough on anybody.”
While it's still technically the offseason, the fact that Newton is having such a difficult time bouncing back mentally and emotionally is not a great sign of growth. These are the same issues he's struggled with throughout his career, and it appears that no matter how much he achieves, his failures will wield the greatest influence on his self-image.
This is especially troubling when considering that Rivera also revealed that Newton will require surgery on a partially torn rotator cuff on his right shoulder, which will keep him out of training camp and set him back in terms of developing chemistry with his offense before the season begins. If he's not emotionally stable heading into his rehabilitation, who knows where he will be at by the time Week 1 rolls around.
If this is how he feels just over a year removed from playing the Super Bowl and winning the MVP, it may be time to consider the possibility that Newton's emotional distress isn't going away.
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